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"One Art" Poem by Elizabeth Bishop

Poetry Analysis

Dustin Curtis

on 17 December 2012

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Transcript of "One Art" Poem by Elizabeth Bishop

"One Art" The theme in this poem, "One Art", is "loss" or "failure". In this poem, the theme is not talking about being "artistic" like the title sounds, but rather the concept of loss perhaps being purposeful, or there is a way to loosing things like it describes in the line "so many things seem filled with the intent". It's as if it isn't talking about being "forgetful or artistic" at all, but instead self-destructive. Some of the things in the poem are very simple things to loose. Others seem a little too extreme and seem very metaphorical like "loosing a continent". The imagery displayed in this poem is taking real life situations in which you loose something and depicting some sort of emotion or importance behind it like losing a watch shouldn't hold that much significance to certain people, but losing something like a continent carries much weight and is a big deal. There is more to it than self-destruction. Like it is giving reasons for the purposeful loss because this is a concept that most people may not understand. It doesn't seem very common, but when the imagery is related to an emotion that is common, there's the common ground on which the majority can understand this concept. Elizabeth Bishop is the author of this poem, "One Art". Her birth was in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1911 with no parents at a very young age. She got her bachelor's degree when she was 23 at Vassar College. She had traveled a lot after college and then ended up living in Key west, Florida. Her poems are filled with her travels that she made. One of the biggest poetic influences on her was Marianne Moore who wasn't just her mentor, but her close friend as well. Her poems are a great example of her intelligence and beliefs. For years people considered her not as a true independent, major poet. People didn't give her the credit she deserved until the publication of her final book. It was because of that book, in 1976, that she was recognized as a great poet. She began teaching at Harvard University in 1970. Her death came in 1979 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She lived for 68 years and her significance is remembered by the people that admired her for her work. In poetry, there is a certain flow to the way the words are grouped together so they can work harmoniously and the poem is better understood with fluency. This concept is called sound devices. They are the foundation of the poem and help form the poem's structure. In my poem, "One Art", one of the main sound devices is repetition with "The art of loosing isn't hard to master" and "disaster" being on the first and third lines of most stanzas, and, of course, a rhyme scheme of A,B,A, accept for the last stanza which has 4 lines and a rhyme scheme of A, B, C, C. The sound device, repetition, is simple and not too hard to grasp. It is easily noticed and works with the theme well. Allusions are references to things in culture that have already happened or have been published before. Some poets use this technique to appeal to a specific audience or just simply to branch out their works and put their opinions in what has already happened. There is no references such as allusions in my poem "One Art", but it is a good technique none the less. In a lot of instances, the allusion has a specific quotation from the thing that it is referencing; for example, in Laurence Perrine's poem "A Monkey Sprang Down from a Tree", the quote is referring to Charles Darwin's works in evolution. Many poems with allusion have quotes from the Bible. An allusion isn't necessarily a guessing game. Sometimes the reference is literally spelled out for you. Elizabeth Bishop Sound Devices Theme Imagery Poet's Biography Allusion One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop

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. Works cited Theme of loss Personal response "One Art" is a simple enough poem. The flow is catchy and consistent. It wasn't terribly long or annoying so altogether I enjoyed working with it. Nothing was cryptic enough to not comprehend any particular line. I can relate to losing things, but not completely in relation to the imagery and metaphor that "One Art" uses. I cannot remember ever losing things intentionally, or as important as a continent. Benka, Jennifer. "Poets.org - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More." Poets.org - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.

"Google Images." Google Images. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.

N.A. "Frugal Living UK." : October 2011. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.

O'Bedlam, Tom. ""One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop (poetry Reading)." YouTube. YouTube, 14 Mar. 2010. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.
Biography Elizzabeth Bishop's birth place was Worcester, Massachusetts and was born in 1911. She was without parents at a very young age. She went to vassar college. By the time she was out of college, she had gotten her bachelor's degree. She managed to become a wealthy woman by her own skill. She traveled to many places in the world and ended up living in Key West, Florida for a small part of her life. A lot of her poetry had to do with her travels and some from where she lived in Florida. One of her main influences was Marianne Moore. She was Elizabeth's mentor. Her poetry depicts her intelligence and concepts of life. For a while she wasn't considered an independent poet until her last book came out. Then she was recognized for her own skill. She taught at Harvard University in 1970, when she won the National Book Award, for 7 years. In 1979, Cambridge, Massachusetts was where she had died.
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