"I am 3/4ths Canadian, and one 4th New Englander - I had ancestors on both sides in the Revolutionary war." - Elizabeth Bishop

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Our Poughkeepsie Correspondent Writes --

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY -- A major exhibit and symposium organized by the Vassar College Libraries will mark the centenary of the acclaimed poet Elizabeth Bishop, a 1934 Vassar graduate who earned the Pulitzer Prize and many other major U.S. literary honors before her death in 1979. Central to these upcoming events are the unmatched Elizabeth Bishop Papers housed at the college’s Archives and Special Collections Library, which play a vital research role for scholars, writers, and editors from around the world. Notably, these programs dedicated to Elizabeth Bishop are part of Vassar’s special year-long celebration of the sesquicentennial of its founding.

About the exhibit

“From the Archive: Discovering Elizabeth Bishop”
August 30-December 15
Thompson Memorial Library

Curator Ronald Patkus, the Head of Special Collections at the Vassar College Libraries, asked ten Elizabeth Bishop scholars and editors (Joelle Biele, Lorrie Goldensohn, Saskia Hamilton, Bethany Hicok, Brett Millier, Barbara Page, Alice Quinn, Camille Roman, Lloyd Schwartz, and Thomas Travisano) to select items from Vassar’s Bishop collection that were important to their writing about the poet. For example, Brett Millier (Elizabeth Bishop: Life and the Memory of It, University of California Press, 1995) selected a composition book that Bishop used in 1934 right after graduating from college; in the book Millier found four pages of writing about the nuances of island life that suggest the origin of several later Bishop poems. Camille Roman (Elizabeth Bishop’s World War II-Cold War View, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) chose for the exhibit an early draft of the poem “12 O’Clock News,” because discovering it at Vassar led Roman to re-read Bishop’s poetry through the frame of war. Alice Quinn picked two drafts of the unfinished story “Homesickness”; earlier, on the invitation of Bishop’s longtime editor Robert Giroux, Quinn edited a volume of Bishop writings that only reside in the Vassar collection (Edgar Allan Poe & The Jukebox: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments By Elizabeth Bishop, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006).

About the symposium

September 24
Taylor Hall

Hartwick College professor Thomas Travisano will moderate a morning discussion “On Editing Bishop,” with panelists Alice Quinn, Lloyd Schwartz, Saskia Hamilton, and Joelle Biele. Barbara Page, Professor Emeritus at Vassar College, will moderate an afternoon discussion “On Teaching Bishop” with panelists Beth Spires, Lorrie Goldensohn, and Jane Shore. The symposium culminates with a keynote address by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, who will also read his new poem dedicated to Vassar’s sesquicentennial and commissioned by the college for the occasion.

About Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop (8 February 1911- 6 October 1979) stands as a major mid-twentieth century American poet, whose influence has been felt among several subsequent generations of poets. Her many prizes included the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, two Guggenheims, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and Brazil's Order of Rio Branco. Bishop's first book of poems, North & South, appeared in 1946; the second, Poems (including North & South and A Cold Spring), in 1955; the third, Questions of Travel, in 1965, and the last, Geography III, in 1976. A one-time Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, Bishop also published several poems in The New Yorker, wrote a number of distinctive short stories, and translated poems and prose in three languages, She wrote a volume in the Life World Library on Brazil, and co-edited An Anthology of Twentieth-Century Brazilian Poetry.

About the Elizabeth Bishop Papers at the Vassar College Libraries

Originally acquired by Vassar College in 1981 from the poet’s estate, the premiere Elizabeth Bishop repository consists of correspondence, personal papers, working papers, notebooks, diaries, and memorabilia, as well as a substantial amount of material by and about the poet’s friends and colleagues. Among the collection are over 3,500 pages of drafts of poems and prose; over 200 letters from poet Marianne Moore discussing their work and mutual friends; and over 200 letters from poet Robert Lowell discussing their work, Bishop’s influence on his work, as well as such prominent writers as Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, W.H. Auden, Sylvia Plath, Flannery O'Connor, and Mary McCarthy.

Vassar has steadily expanded its Bishop collection through donations, bequests, and purchases. “These additions have been both significant and sizeable,” writes curator Ronald Patkus for the publication accompanying the Elizabeth Bishop papers exhibit. “As in the original acquisition, they include a variety of materials, but especially correspondence with friends and fellow poets, such as James Merrill, Emmanuel Brasil, and Lloyd Frankenberg. One of the most important additions came in 2002, when the college acquired a collection from the Portinari family in Brazil, which contained among other things Bishop’s baby book; letters to friends from around the time of her partner Lota’s death; two watercolors; and an annotated copy of the book Brazil, edited by Bishop and first published in 1962.”

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.

PUBLIC CONTACT: Vassar College Libraries, (845) 437-5760, Office of Campus
Activities, (845) 437-5370

PRESS CONTACT: Jeff Kosmacher, Director of Media Relations & Public Affairs,
(845) 437-7404, jekosmacher@vassar.edu

Our Worcester Correspondent Writes --

Robert Pinsky and Chares Simic, both former poets laureate of the United States, will give poetry readings at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 13 at The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester.

The readings are part of the Worcester County Poetry Association's “EB100” celebrations to honor the 100th birthday this year of Pulitzer Prize-winning Worcester-born poet Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79). Pinsky and Simic will choose a number of poems by Bishop to read along with their own works.

The readings are part of a daylong poetry celebration at The Hanover Theatre beginning at noon Aug. 13. The day will include an open mic, tables with books, journals and CDs by local poets and information on the Worcester poetry scene, a public reception and book signings.

All the events are free.

Pinsky was poet laureate from 1997-2000 during which time he founded the “Favorite Poem Project” in which thousands of Americans (of varying backgrounds, all ages, and from every state) shared their favorite poems.

Simic, poet laureate 2007-08, was born in Belgrade and came to this country with his family, living in Chicago. He has been praised for the “stunning and unusual imagery” of his poetry.

A number of EB 100 celebrations have been taking place in Worcester this year to honor Bishop, who more and more is being is being recognized for the quiet and enduring power of her poetry.

-- Richard Duckett, in The Worcester Telegram and Gazette

Thursday, July 28, 2011


AUGUST 19 - 21, 2011

Friday, August 19th 7:30 PM Lenore Zann and Rosalee Peppard
Lenore Zann will present a dramatic reading from a play about Elizabeth Bishop by playwright Donna Smyth. Truro native Lenore is an award winning actor, writer, and producer with 33 years experience in film, TV, radio and the theatre.

Nova Scotia Singer, songwriter Rosalee Peppard will sing from her own repertoire and a new composition written in honour of this special Elizabeth Bishop Arts Festival event.

A special bonus - meet the winners of the "In the Village" writing competition.

Saturday, August 20th, 7:30 PM Rankin, Church and Crowe
Delight to the music of three of Canada's foremost female singer songwriters together on this one stage for an oh so very special evening. Each is a distinctive artist. Performing together, they offer more than the sum of those parts.

Friends and colleagues Raylene Rankin, Cindy Church, and Susan Crowe, all award winning recording artists, bring their varied musical signatures to the stage in a mix of elegance and accessibility. Folk, country, jazz, contemporary singer-songwriter make for richly textured harmonies and a welcoming rapport that invites audiences in, and makes them want to stay.

Sunday, August 21st, 7:30 PM Suzie Leblanc and Musique Royale

This special program features soprano Suzie LeBlanc, David Greenberg and Tempest Baroque Ensemble, and Antigonish author Harry Thurston. A selection of pieces will be sung and played in between and during the reading of the poem ‘At the Fishhouses’ by Elizabeth Bishop.

Acadienne Suzie Leblanc is an internationally respected soprano who has performed with the best opera and symphonic companies around the world. This summer she collaborates with Musique Royale to bring us a celebration of music and song in theme with the Centenary Year and this wonderful musical weekend of the Elizabeth Bishop Arts Festival. Merci beaucoup Suzie!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011


[Double-click the poster to enlarge -- JB]

“These Fine Mornings: Elizabeth Bishop and The New Yorker”

“These Fine Mornings: Elizabeth Bishop and The New Yorker

(written by Joelle Biele)

A Dramatic Reading of the letters between

Pulitzer Prize winning poet Elizabeth Bishop

and her New Yorker editors

based on Elizabeth Bishop and The New Yorker: The Complete Correspondence (2011) edited by Joelle Biele

Readers: John Barnstead, Sandra Barry, Suzie LeBlanc and Harry Thurston

Thursday, 21 July 2011

St. James United Church, Great Village, N.S., 7:00 p.m.

Free admission. Everyone welcome.

Free will offering fund-raiser for the Colchester Adult Learning Association

An Elizabeth Bishop Centenary event

These Fine Mornings is a one-act play that tells the story of Elizabeth Bishop and The New Yorker. It uses excerpts from letters between Bishop and editors Charles Pearce, Katharine White, and Howard Moss. Woven between their correspondence are letters Bishop wrote to friends, internal magazine documents, poems, and questions and answers that appear on proofs. Actors do more than one voice. The play was first read at the University of Chicago’s International House and hosted by the Program in Poetry and Poetics and the Poetry Founda-tion. These Fine Mornings is being read by contemporary poets at a number of venues as part of the celebration of the centenary of Bishop’s birth.


Joelle Biele will also be giving a talk about Elizabeth Bishop and The New Yorker at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Room 254, Haley Institute Building, 58 River Road, at 1:30 p.m., 21 July 2011, as part of the NSAC Annual Open House.


Joelle Biele is the author of White Summer and the editor of Elizabeth Bishop and The New Yorker: The Complete Correspondence. A Fulbright scholar in Germany and Poland, she has received awards from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Poetry Society of America. Her essays and fiction appear in American Poetry Review, Antioch Review, Black Warrior Review, Gettysburg Review, Harvard Review, and New England Review. She has taught American literature and creative writing at the University of Maryland, Goucher College, the University of Oldenburg, Germany, and Jagiellonian University, Poland.


About Elizabeth Bishop and The New Yorker:

"Meticulously researched and comprehensively edited... Biele is a scrupulous and painstaking editor of the correspondence, tracking drafts and letters through archives far beyond the New York Public Library." —Fiona Green, Times Literary Supplement

"One of the pleasures of Elizabeth Bishop and The New Yorker...is snooping around in the excellent footnotes and front matter for the wicked comments she made behind the magazine's back... There are thoseand, full disclosure, I am among themfor whom this kind of shop talk from an adored poet and her serious editors is uncut catnip." Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“Bishop’s long and affectionate relationship with the magazine is thoroughly documented in Elizabeth Bishop and The New Yorker: The Complete Correspondence… Poets and New Yorker aficionados will find it irresistible.” —Dana Gioia, The Wall Street Journal


The Colchester Adult Learning Association is a charitable non-profit community-based organization and relies on funding and support from groups and individuals who share our belief that every adult should have an equal opportunity to an education. At CALA we believe no one should be left behind no matter what your race, age, or literacy level. The MISSION of the Colchester Adult Learning Association is to assist adults who want to develop skills for lifelong learning so they may participate more fully at home, in the workplace and in the community.

For more information contact Sandra Barry at slbarry@ns.sympatico.ca

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Opening of Two Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Art Exhibitions

Great Village and In the Village Opening on July 5th 2011
Exhibitions are open week days until August 17 at McCarthy Hall, Nova Scotia Community College, Arthur St., Truro, and at the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Arts Festival, August 18, 20, and 21, Great Village Legion
Sponsored by the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia and the Truro Arts Society

Exhibition Coordinator Bruce Gray (right) introduces EBSNS President John Barnstead

On the evening of Tuesday, 5 July, 2011, two art exhibitions opened in Truro. The exhibitions honour the Nova Scotia roots of Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Elizabeth Bishop. The exhibitions are part of a year long Centenary Celebration of her birth and the exhibitions will also be moved to Great Village for the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Arts Festival August 19, 20 and 21.

Bruce Gray, the Exhibition Coordinator, welcomed the crowd and introduced Sandra Barry, Nova Scotia’s own Elizabeth Bishop scholar. Sandra captivated the audience with stories about Elizabeth Bishop’s own experiences as a visual artist and as an artist with words. Reading from Bishop’s poem, entitled “Poem,” Barry brought the relevance of Bishops writing full circle and the audience was very interested that the words of an author long dead are still shaping our world.

Bishop scholar Sandra Barry addresses the audience at the exhibition opening.

One of the exhibitions, “In the Village,” asked Maritime Artists to listen to the 55 minute reading of Bishops In the Village at www.elizabethbishop.org. Then artists were challenged to create their own visual works that reflected their own lives. Among the works, Truro photographer, Laurie Gunn did a photo collage called “My Golden Childhood” and Halifax artist Taiya Barss did a painting of a childhood door with childlike drawings scratched into the surface. Shapes of people and events were slowly evident upon close inspection. In this exhibition there was a synergistic energy between the works, because they all delved into personal stories.

Truro Arts Society members Margaret Boyle and Beth McDade view Joy Laking's acrylic self-portrait "In the Marsh" and Laurie Gunn's photo-collage "My Golden Childhood."

The second exhibition , Great Village, was visual works that reflect the village and its location on the shore of the Bay of Fundy. Four weeks ago, artists from around the Maritimes were hosted in Great Village for a weekend of paintings. Many of the works started on this weekend were in the exhibition. Halifax Artists, Susan Tooke and Richard Rudinicki and Portaupique artist, Joy Laking and others all did paintings of the red mud that seems to stretch outward to the horizon at “Low Tide.” Several artists actually captured the house in Great Village where Elizabeth Bishop lived. Two interesting watercolours were done by Ruth Peppard who herself was raised in Great Village like Bishop.

The president of the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia, John Barnstead, toured the audience around the exhibitions and spoke on behalf of the Society. He closed the evening with a reading from Bishop’s poem “The Moose.”