“One Art” By Elizabeth Bishop Brandon Arvon
Background On Bishop • Born February 8, 1911 • Father past away of Bright’s disease eight months after Elizabeth’s birth. • Mother couldn’t handle death of father and was in an out of mental asylums. • In 1916 her mother was diagnosed permanently insane. • After death of both parents Elizabeth traveled all around the world. • Settle in Brazil with her lover, who later commits suicide
Explication of “One Art” • The art of losing isnt hard to master; so many things filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster • Lose something evrey day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. The art of losing isnt hard to master. • Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel. None of these will bring disaster. • Everything in life is capable of being lost, so when you lose it, the feeling isn't as bad. • Lost keys, an example of something that is constantly lost by people every day. • Loss is all round us, just accept loss. As you get older the more and more things will be lost
Explication continued • I lost my mothers watch. And look! My last, or next to-last, of three loved houses went. The art of losing isnt hard to master. • I lost to cities, lovely ones. And, vaster, some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster. • Even losing you (The joking voice,a gesture I love) I shant have lied. Its evident the art of losing isnt hard to master though it may look like (write it!) like disaster. Mothers watch refers to mothers life coming to an end, and with the passing of both her parents, Bishops life of constant travel begins loss – traveling from one area to another, over continents and over rivers, traveling all over the world The final and most traumatic loss for Bishop. The suicide of her lover in Brazil. Missing her mates voice
The art of losing isn’t hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster. Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel. None of these will bring disaster. I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or next-to-last, of three loved houses went. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster, some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster. —Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident the art of losing’s not too hard to master though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster. Refrain Imagery End stopped-line Alliteration
Personal Analysis • The poem is about coping with loss • Memories of the past slowly drifting away • Loss of both mother and father in beginning then coming full circle and losing her soul mate
Critical Analysis • “She can afford to let go of these "realms" because her imagination can provide new ones” (McCabe). • “As we move forward, we also step backwards. The watch stands in for her mother's absence and loss—a timekeeper that reflects its inability to "keep" time. Embedded in the loss of the watch is also the loss of her mother's caretaking and vigilance, as well as her father's position as timekeeper” (McCabe).
Work Cited • Google Images • Bishop, Elizabeth. “One Art.” The Complete poems 1926- 1979. Ed. Robert Giroux. New York: Farrar and Straus, 1976. Print. • Millier, Brett Candish. “Elusive Mastery: The Drafts of Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art”.” New England Review. Ed. New England: Middlebury, 1990. 121-129. Print. • McCabe, Susan. “Elizabeth Bishop: Her Poetics of Loss.” Modern American Poetry On “One Art”. Ed. University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania State UP, 1994. Web.