Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop Poems

Elizabeth Bishop was an American poet who won the 1956 Pulitzer Prize for her collection Poems: North & South/A Cold Spring. She also won the National Book Award in 1970 and taught at Harvard University. She was awarded an Academy Fellowship in 1964 for her lifetime achievement. She greatly resisted the confessional forms of poetry that were becoming popular in the 1960s, preferring a more distant and abstracted poetic voice

The Fish

by Elizabeth Bishop

‘The Fish’ by Elizabeth Bishop is considered to be one of her best poems. In it, readers can find some clues about her personal life.

Elizabeth Bishop was an American poet known for her precise, detailed, and descriptive style. Her poetry often explored themes of loss, nature, and the human condition, as seen in 'The Fish.' Bishop's poems are known for their attention to detail, creating vivid images that evoke powerful emotions.

I caught a tremendous fish

and held him beside the boat

half out of water, with my hook

fast in a corner of his mouth.

He didn't fight.

At the Fishhouses

by Elizabeth Bishop

Cold dark deep and absolutely clear,

element bearable to no mortal,

to fish and to seals . . . One seal particularly

I have seen here evening after evening.

I Am In Need of Music

by Elizabeth Bishop

‘I Am In Need of Music’ by Elizabeth Bishop describes the desire a speaker has to be held, calmed down and consumed by the music she loves. 

I am in need of music that would flow

Over my fretful, feeling fingertips,

Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,

With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.

Questions of Travel

by Elizabeth Bishop

Think of the long trip home.

Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?

Where should we be today?

Is it right to be watching strangers in a play


by Elizabeth Bishop

September rain falls on the house.

In the failing light, the old grandmother

sits in the kitchen with the child

beside the Little Marvel Stove,

Explore more poems from Elizabeth Bishop

The Armadillo

by Elizabeth Bishop

This is the time of year

when almost every night

the frail, illegal fire balloons appear.

Climbing the mountain height,

The Bight

by Elizabeth Bishop

At low tide like this how sheer the water is.

White, crumbling ribs of marl protrude and glare

and the boats are dry, the pilings dry as matches.

Absorbing, rather than being absorbed,

The Map

by Elizabeth Bishop

‘The Map,’ written in 1934, is the signature poem of Elizabeth Bishop that transcends the boundaries of the real and imaginatively inspects the topographical features within a map.

Land lies in water; it is shadowed green.

Shadows, or are they shallows, at its edges

showing the line of long sea-weeded ledges

where weeds hang to the simple blue from green.

The Mountain

by Elizabeth Bishop

‘The Mountain’ by Elizabeth Bishop is a poem portraying the transience of nature and life from the viewpoint of a personified mountain.

At evening, something behind me.

I start for a second, I blench,

or staggeringly halt and burn.

I do not know my age.

The Prodigal

by Elizabeth Bishop

The brown enormous odor he lived by

was too close, with its breathing and thick hair,

for him to judge. The floor was rotten; the sty

was plastered halfway up with glass-smooth dung.

Visits to St. Elizabeths

by Elizabeth Bishop

‘Visits to St. Elizabeths’ by Elizabeth Bishop depicts the late Ezra Pound in a mental institution. The poet was inspired by the structure of children’s nursery rhymes in her composition of the text.

This is the time

of the tragic man

that lies in the house of Bedlam.

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