so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster."
This is not my favorite Elizabeth Bishop poem, though I know that many of my poet-friends worship "One Art." To be fair, "Wendy's Favorite Elizabeth Bishop Poem" would be a hard-won title, indeed.
In the first (and, it must be said, only) poetry workshop I ever took, more than a decade ago, the brilliant and generous Mark Doty looked at my terrible poems and said, "Study Elizabeth Bishop."
In the first writing class I ever taught, in the fall of 2006, we read and savored "The Fish" -- sans the final three lines. I asked my students to come up with their own final three lines, before we looked at the trio that Bishop had created. I was struck by how close my students' endings were to Bishop's. Half of them had Bishop tossing the fish back, as she actually did in the poem. The sign of perfect craftswomanship, I think.
|"Telling True Stories" workshop at TSKW.|
Yes, the art of losing is quite easily mastered.
I was impressed that someone had managed to come inside without making any noise, and even more impressed that the person chose to leave behind my laptop. (Perhaps it was the fact that it's so old and worn that the E, R, S, F, V, and N keys are blank and the Caps Lock and Page Up keys are missing altogether? Or perhaps s/he didn't want anything that couldn't be pocketed.)
|624 White Street in Key West, where Elizabeth Bishop|
lived in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
|Key West's Old Armory.|
I will leave these inspiring studios and this magic island tomorrow, and in a couple weeks, I, too, head to South America. (I'm going to Venezuela for a two-week visit.)
Something lost, something gained.