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Chapter 30 - Nature

from Part V - Identity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 August 2021

Angus Cleghorn
Affiliation:
Seneca College, Canada
Jonathan Ellis
Affiliation:
University of Sheffield
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Summary

A self-proclaimed “minor female Wordsworth,” Bishop is honest yet modest about nature’s centrality that endures through her writing. Her eye for natural detail is exhibited early in signature poems such as “The Fish,” then her nature writing develops sublime power in A Cold Spring with “At the Fishhouses” and “Cape Breton.” These Canadian maritime poems blend humanity with nature and machinery in unusual synthetic harmony mid-century. Bishop’s memoir “In the Village” demonstrates how, after family tragedy, nature works as a recuperative catalyst in her evolving artistry. This short story is the centerpiece of her oeuvre, and it displays her modus operandi with its unusual blend of genres used to begin the mostly poetic volume Questions of Travel; this title poem demonstrates the natural fluidity of waterfalls in rhythmically flowing language. Nature here, and in later prosaic breakthroughs such as “The Moose,” is integral to Bishop’s innovative use of genres and poetic forms.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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