An analysis of elizabeth bishops poem the fish

Started writing at Vassar on the student paper and founding her own magazine 'Con Spirito'. Bishop one most of the major poetry prizes including a Pulitzer and was a good linguist translating from the Brazilian. Read More Elizabeth Bishop was born in Worcester, Massachusetts inbut spent part of her childhood with her Canadian grandparents after her father's death and mother's hospitalization. Of her childhood she noted, "My relatives all felt so sorry for this child that they tried to do their very best.

An analysis of elizabeth bishops poem the fish

The poem interprets a wordless, creaturely presence—like Whitman's "noiseless patient spider" or Emily Dickinson's "narrow fellow in the grass"—and provides, in its way, speech for that which is wordless. The news this particular fish carries is the possibility of endurance; he's an exemplar of survival—even victory—in the face of struggle.

How could such a "battered and venerable" old soldier not serve as a heroic example? But if this were the poem's sole intent, it could have been much shorter. Instead of getting to the point, Bishop is concerned with the experience of observing; her aim is to track the pathways of scrutiny. Elsewhere, she praises "baroque sermons Donne's, for instance " that "attempted to dramatize the mind in action rather than in repose.

First she notes sound and weight, fusing impressions synesthetically in a startling phrase, "a grunting weight. There's pleasure taken in working out this comparison, and these lines signal just how leisurely and careful an examination this will be.

The poet seems to proceed from a faith that the refinement of observation is an inherently satisfying activity. To see is joy and scruple, privilege and duty. No wonder she loved Vermeer!

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Now the poem's structural scaffolding is established: The eye moves restlessly over the surface of the fish, as if seeking what might satisfy it. The "camera" roves, pans, lingers, moves in for an extreme close-up, fixes a moment on the pulsing of the gills: While his gills were breathing in the terrible oxygen fresh and crisp with blood, that can cut so badly— I thought of the coarse white flesh packed in like feathers, the big bones and the little bones, the dramatic reds and blacks of his shiny entrails, and the pink swim-bladder like a big peony.

Within this single sentence Bishop travels from fish body to human body and back to fish flesh again, entering deeply into what is literally the fish's inner life, the hidden stuff of flesh and bone.

An analysis of elizabeth bishops poem the fish

It's a painterly passage, with its arrangement of white flesh, "dramatic" reds and blacks, and the image of that startling flower-pink bladder hurrying us back to land, to some remembered garden, to the shape and sheen of a peony blossom. The eleven lines that follow—about those haunting, yellowed eyes, with their scratchy shine—are the most extended and intricate of the poem's descriptive acts so far, as if to focus our sights on the primacy of vision here, dilate our attention, and slow our movement forward.

You can't help but think about the speaker's eyes, too, and the poet points attention this way carefully: That little pause and gathering of breath—just a dash, followed by the careful qualifying phrase "It was more like"—makes a world of difference.

What does it mean, for a poet to stop and consider, to question herself, just as she will again in a few lines at "—if you could call it a lip"?

This hesitation reveals that what's been stated so far isn't necessarily authoritative; each descriptive act is one attempt to render the world, subject to revision.

Perception is provisional; it gropes, considers, hypothesizes. Saying is now a problematic act, not a given; one might name what one sees this way, but there's also that one, and that one.

And if we're not certain what we should say, can we be certain what we've seen? A degree of self-consciousness, of uncertainty, has entered the project of description.

This reflexive awareness enters the poem just at its moment of maximum strangeness, as the speaker tries to look into those shifting eyes that can't be comfortably anthropomorphized.

They don't "return my stare," and seem more like objects than like part of a living thing.

Response to "the Fish" by Elizabeth Bishop

And though the speaker has tried, as is her wont, to connect them to the familiar through similes, it doesn't work; you can feel, in that hesitation, and in the close study of this alien gaze, the thrum of anxiety.Elizabeth Bishop’s Art of Losing (“An Egyptian Pulled Glass Bottle in the Shape of a Fish”); she even had one about a gritty American coastal town, like the town where Bishop had lived.

Elizabeth Bishop, an only child, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, United States, to William Thomas and Gertrude May (Bulmer) her father, a successful builder, died when she was eight months old, Bishop’s mother became mentally ill and was institutionalized in is the place to go to get the answers you need and to ask the questions you want.

Elizabeth Bishop Essay Sample. The recurring theme of discovering beauty and wonder in mundane objects in Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Fish”, “The Bight”, and “Sandpiper” is illustrated by the descriptions of the creature/ place she chose.

Feb 26,  · A Basis for Comparison: Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Fish” Posted on February 26, by windfallpears Marianne Moore, whose poem “The Fish” I used for last week’s blog, mentored the Elizabeth Bishop, and the two poets enjoyed a rich correspondence.

Main. THE HEALING POWER OF METALS by Peter Morrell. Materia Medica remedy tre, - Peter Morrell. There are seven metals in the ancient alchemical system of healing, which have resurfaced from time to time in medical thought.

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