"Elizabeth Bishop at 100"
After James Merrill described Elizabeth Bishop as "a poet's poet's poet," reviewers repeated the witticism as if it were true. Actually, beginning with her first book, Bishop got awards and grants — that master poet politician Robert Lowell was in her corner — that gave her much more public recognition than Merrill's phrase suggests was the case. And, thanks to Joelle Biele, we now know the details of her 46-year — 1933–1979 — relationship with the New Yorker. We can't think of another American poet who had a long enough run at the magazine to produce nearly 400 pages of letters between poet and editors. Add to Elizabeth Bishop and the New Yorker new editions of Bishop's poems and prose and it seems that 31 years after her death (and a century after her birth, February 8), she is a popular poet, if there is such a thing today.
Poetry readings, reminiscences, and a reception; participants include Frank Bidart, Peter Campion, Dan Chiasson, Henri Cole, Bonnie Costello, Maggie Dietz, David Ferry, Erica Funkhauser, Jonathan Galassi, Jorie Graham, Melissa Green, Saskia Hamilton, George Kalogeris, Gail Mazur, Christopher Ricks, Peter Sacks, and Lloyd Schwartz.