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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Call for Papers

The Worcester Review Celebrates
the Centennial of Elizabeth Bishop
1911 – 2011

Submissions are invited for the Elizabeth Bishop Centennial Edition of the Worcester Review. The editors are particularly interested in papers concerning individual poems by Elizabeth Bishop.

From “Three Poems”

All passionate words that meet the mind’s approval
The heart rejects and will not listen to.
Even those chosen not from love, but art or science,
The heart sits in his echoing house
And would not speak at all.

Deadline: May 10, 2011
Send articles to: The Bishop Centennial, Edward R. Cronin, c/o The Worcester Review,
I Ekman St., Worcester, MA 01607 USA.

For more information: Barbnbob3@netscape.net

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our Chicago Correspondent Writes:

Poetry Off the Shelf Elizabeth Bishop’s Correspondence with The New Yorker

Poetry Off the Shelf
Elizabeth Bishop’s Correspondence with The New Yorker

Thursday, February 17, 2011, 6:00 PM

University of Chicago
Home Room
International House
1414 East 59th Street
Free admission

In a program that will appeal to scholars and emerging writers alike, we celebrate the centennial of Elizabeth Bishop’s birth with a behind-the-scenes look at her correspondence with The New Yorker. From 1934 to 1979, Bishop submitted dozens of poems, stories, and essays to The New Yorker. Although much of her early work was rejected, by the time of her death in 1979 it was met with regular acceptance and praise. In their letters, Bishop and her editors discuss typography, the placement of commas, and the fact-checkers’ questions while sharing the details of their lives. The friendships they developed sustained Bishop, but her relationship with the magazine strained when she attempted pieces that were more experimental or involved her sexuality or love for Lota de Macedo Soares. Yet no matter how much she struggled with The New Yorker in private, she was grateful for her editors’ insightful reading and steady support. Actors will read the parts of Bishop and her editors, while Joelle Biele, editor of Elizabeth Bishop and The New Yorker: The Complete Correspondence (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011), will provide narration and answer questions.

Co-sponsored with the University of Chicago’s Program in Poetry and Poetics

Sunday, January 23, 2011


The official launch of the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Celebration is fast upon us. Here is a preview of the rack card we will be distributing at all the upcoming events here in Nova Scotia. (Click through the image above for a larger view -- the printed card will be 4" by 9"). If you are "from away" and would like to have one as a souvenir, please write us with your snail-mail coordinates. We'll be delighted to send you a copy. Our mailing address is bishopcentenary@gmail.com.

We hope as many of you as possible will come to Nova Scotia to help us celebrate!

Dissolve in a Dazzling Dialectic!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Elizabeth Bishop at 100

Poets and scholars gather to pay tribute to Elizabeth Bishop.

Poems will be read, reminiscences offered.

A not-to-be-missed literary event!

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.

Thursday, February 10th at 7 p.m. in the Jacob Sleeper Auditorium, CGS, 871 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts.

Reception to follow.

Co-sponsored by the Humanities Foundation and the College of General Studies at Boston University, AGNI, the Poetry Society of America and Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

Please contact Meg Tyler (mtyler@bu.edu, (617) 358-4199) with any questions.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bishop on the BBC

Poet, broadcaster and Bard of Barnsley Ian McMillan presides as the novelist and screenwriter William Boyd celebrates the works of poet Elizabeth Bishop for the centenary of her birth, on BBC Radio 3's much-loved cabaret of the word, The Verb, which returns to the Radio Theatre on Friday 11 February 2011. Tickets to attend the broadcast in person are available. Further information is available at

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Here is the fabulous poster for "Elizabeth Bishop in Words and Music," Suzie LeBlanc's concert with Symphony Nova Scotia, conducted by Bernard Gueller, on 10 February 2011 at 7:30 p.m. This is the third jewel -- the sparkling diamond -- in our tiara of kick-off events for the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary. Go to SNS's website for information about getting tickets. Don't wait, they are selling fast!

This concert will be the world premiere of settings of a number of Elizabeth Bishop poems by three fabulous Canadian composers: Emily Doolittle, Alasdair MacLean and Christos Hatzis. This is the first time, we believe, that Canadian composers have set Bishop's poems -- and what a trio of composers we have involved -- diverse and brilliantly gifted. Then to have our own amazing Suzie LeBlanc perform these songs, done especially for her, is a rare delight! Suzie and the composers will be talking about these works in other places as the next few weeks pass, but I wanted to say, as someone who has dreamed of having Canadian settings of Bishop's work for years, how thrilled I am that this whole event is happening. We must all be grateful to Suzie and the composers for creating it, and to Symphony Nova Scotia, especially Maestro Gueller, for bringing this music into the 2010-2011 season of SNS, to help celebrate EB100. And what fun we'll have as Maestro Gueller conducts Beethoven's rousing FIFTH in the second half. Bishop would smile at such startling juxtapositions; her life was filled with unusual convergences, combinations and creative endeavours. Espace Musique/CBC are involved, too (stay tuned for more information of what they will be doing). How exciting is this!!?? I can barely contain myself. What a week it is going to be: lots of food and birthday cake, lots of fabulous artists, incredible new work, all in the celebration of Elizabeth Bishop and her 100th birthday. Wish you all could "come flying" and join the party.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Official Launch of EB100 Celebrations in Nova Scotia

Elizabeth Bishop Centenary celebrations will be officially launched in Nova Scotia in just under a month. Our annual birthday party (6 February) is part of these launch celebrations, as well as "Elizabeth Bishop in Words and Music," a wonderful Symphony Nova Scotia concert (10 February) featuring our own wonderful Suzie LeBlanc and the work of three amazing Canadian composers: Emily Doolittle, Christos Hatzis and Alasdair MacLean. In between these two exciting events, we will have our official launch of the whole year, taking place on Elizabeth Bishop's actual birthday, 8 February 2011. The press release below gives all the details.


Official Launch of EB100
The Elizabeth Bishop Centenary in Nova Scotia, 20


February 8, 2011, marks the 100th birthday of the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Elizabeth Bishop. This great poet had deep roots in and an enduring connection with Nova Scotia, her childhood home. Throughout the year the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia and many artists and arts groups will be celebrating Elizabeth Bishop’s life, art and legacy with a series of wonderful tributes, events and activities.


On February 8, 2011, the EBSNS and the artists involved in EB100 events will officially launch the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Celebrations in the Atrium at Pipa Restaurant, 1685 Argyle Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Hors d’oeuvres. Cash bar.

You are invited to join the celebration and hear about the many amazing Elizabeth Bishop events and activities that will take place throughout 2011. Meet some of the wonderful artists (singers, writers, painters, film-makers, composers, photographers, etc.) who will be on hand to talk about their EB100 work.

Some of the fabulous EB Centenary artists who will be present include: Suzie LeBlanc, Dinuk Wijeratne, Susan Crowe, Anne Simpson, Roxanne Smith, Linda Rae Dornan, Adrian Hoffman, Lisa Lindo, John Plant — and many more!!

This launch is part of a week of activities, which also includes:

The annual Elizabeth Bishop Birthday Party and Elizabeth Bishop House fund-raiser, taking place on Sunday, February 6, 2011, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., at the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia, at 1113 Marginal Road, Halifax, N.S.

“Elizabeth Bishop in Words and Music,” a Symphony Nova Scotia concert featuring renowned soprano Suzie LeBlanc, on Thursday, February 10, 2011, at 7:30 p.m., at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Dalhousie Arts Centre.


EB100: The Elizabeth Bishop Centenary celebration in Nova Scotia will be a series of events and activities (concerts, lectures, exhibits, readings, kitchen parties, tours, publications, etc.) Because Bishop was born on 8 February 1911 and died on 6 October 1979, events will occur throughout the province and across this time span, but four points during the year — winter, spring, summer and fall — will bring a particular concentration of activity.

In addition to the events in Great Village and Halifax, many artists — writers, musicians, painters, film-makers, photographers, actors, dancers, artisans, etc. — arts groups and universities in Nova Scotia will create events to mark the centenary.

The Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia is Canada’s only society devoted to celebrating the life and art of the poet Elizabeth Bishop. Educating Nova Scotians and the world about her deep and abiding connections to the province is its purpose.

Our other websites:

Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia:

Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Events website:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Elizabeth Bishop's 100th Birthday Party in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Below is the announcement for the Sixth Annual Elizabeth Bishop Birthday Party in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is sponsored by the Elizabeth Bishop House. I think I can speak for those who have attended in years past (and can do so even if I am the person who organizes this gathering), it is a lot of fun. We have had some fabulous costumes over the years and I am looking forward to the delightful, imaginative creations that will appear this year. Prize for best costume is time at the EB House. We always have wonderful readers and readings and this year is no exception. There will be a big cake. Lots of other food. There will be wonderful door prizes. Wish you all could "come flying" and be part of the fun in this most important year of all for those of us who love Elizabeth Bishop and her work.

We will soon be posting more notices about the official launch of Nova Scotia's Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Celebrations (events happening on her actual birthday, 8 February, and on 10 February). Much excitement during the dark days of a Maritime winter.


♥♥♥ELIZABETH BISHOP’s 100th Birthday Party♥♥♥

This event is part of the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary (EB100) Celebrations

Celebrate Elizabeth Bishop’s Birthday
Date: Sunday, 6 February 2011
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Place: Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia
1113 Marginal Road (behind Garrison Beer, just up from Pier 21)


Help Heat Her Home
(a fund-raiser for the Elizabeth Bishop House Artists’ Retreat)


Come as your favourite Bishop character or creature, or just come as What You Will. Don’t let Manners inhibit you. Come as The Man-Moth or The Moose. Have The Wit to be The Fish or The Armadillo. You might need The Patience of an Angel to be The Unbeliever or The Prodigal, but please, come flying!!

Don’t wait for The End of March or A Cold Spring. Dispel the mid-winter blues! Come for the readings, come for the birthday cake, come for the prizes (best costume is a weekend at the EB House!!). Who knows, you might end up Exchanging Hats!!!

The Colder the Air the warmer the welcome!

Readers include: John Barnstead, Sandra Barry, Susie DeCoste, Claire Goulet, Carole Langille, Suzie LeBlanc, Scott MacDougall, Lorri Neilsen Glenn, Peter O’Brien, Rosalee Peppard, Anne Simpson, Donna Smyth and Gillian Thomas.

Light refreshments

RSVP Sandra at: slbarry@ns.sympatico.ca


Two glimpses of a past EB Birthday party, 8 February 2007

Drawing by Halifax painter and illustrator Richard Rudnicki

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"In Worcester, Massachusetts": Centennial Celebration Events

Starting January 3rd and throughout 2011, the Worcester County Poetry Association (WCPA) will celebrate the centenary of Worcester native Pulitzer prize winning poet, Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979). Although she did not live very long in Worcester, Bishop wrote two of her most compelling works about the city, works that helped put Worcester on the literary map of the U.S. Her well-known poem, “In the Waiting Room” begins “In Worcester, Massachusetts” and ends by again naming the city. And her long prose memoir, “The Country Mouse,” details her stay, at age 6 and 7, in her grandparents’ house on Main Street, when she went to Gates Lane School, explored the area and the house like a cat, and often felt lonely and out of place in the city—like the country mouse in the fable.

To honor Bishop in this, her centennial year, WCPA will sponsor, or co-sponsor, many events--readings by local as well as internationally known poets, talks by Bishop scholars, discussions , gatherings of poets, performances of new works, musical settings of Bishop’s poems, and a special, commemorative, birthday party—all open to the public, and most of them free of charge.

On Monday, January 3 at 7:30 pm, poet and scholar Bob Cronin read from his work and discussed Bishop’s influence on contemporary poetry. Francine D’Alessandro hosted this program of firsts: the first event in the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary, the first reading in the Monday Poetry Series, held at First Unitarian Church, Bancroft Room, 90 Main Street, Worcester

On Monday, January 10 at 7 pm, NOW at the Women’s Issues Book Group hosts “Elizabeth Bishop in Brazil,” an informal discussion of The More I Owe You, Michael Sledge's recent, highly-praised novel. Sledge imagines Bishop’s 17 years in Brazil with her friend and lover, prominent city planner Lota de Macedo Soares. This event is being held at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore, Worcester.

February events include a ceremony at Bishop’s gravesite in Worcester’s Hope Cemetery, a dinner at a Brazilian restaurant on Shrewsbury Street, a 100th birthday party at Anne Marie Lucci’s Street Beat venue, and at Carle Johnson’s 4th Saturday Poetry Night, an open mic and a featured poet, all of whom will start their reading with a Bishop poem.

During each month in 2011, WCPA will organize at least one Bishop event. In March, for example, WCPA collaborates with Master Singers of Worcester and the Worcester Women's History Project in a Tuckerman Hall program of choral music based on the writings of famous American women writers, including Elizabeth Bishop. Other months will bring musical settings of Bishop poems by composers Elliott Carter and JB Menides. There will be lectures by established scholars on a variety of topics, including Bishop’s prose writings, her dealings with editors of the New Yorker Magazine, and her correspondence with poet Robert Lowell.

Many events will feature talented local poets, especially those who have won prizes or have published a book. Michael Hood, for example, author of Cranberry Smoke, has written a new series of poems in the voice of young Elizabeth Bishop and will use the poems to show Worcester’s teachers how to introduce their students to the famous Worcester-born poet. There will be a day-long celebration of Worcester’s poets and poetry-- with readings, exhibits, music, chapbooks, and broadsides—at Worcester’s Hanover Theatre. Plans call for this day to culminate in readings on the Hanover Theatre stage by two or three nationally known poets with ties to Elizabeth Bishop.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"In the Village": The Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Writing Competition 2011 -- Still time to enter!!!

There is still plenty of time to enter the writing competition sponsored by the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia. The deadline is 15 March 2011. For all the details, visit the EBSNS website: www.elizabethbishopns.org – on the website you will find an electronic brochure, competition guidelines and entry form. You can also able listen to a reading of Bishop’s wonderful story “In the Village,” read by Halifax storyteller Claire Miller, the inspiration for the competition.

Here is some of the information about the competition:

“There are the tops of all the elm trees in the village and there, beyond them, the long green marshes, so fresh, so salt. Then the Minas Basin, with the tide halfway in or out, the wet red mud glazed with sky blue until it meets the creeping lavender-red water. In the middle of the view, like one hand of a clock pointing straight up, is the steeple of the Presbyterian church. We are in the ‘Maritimes’ but all that means is that we live by the sea.” -- from Elizabeth Bishop, “In the Village”

Pulitzer Prize winning poet Elizabeth Bishop was born in Worcester, MA, on February 8, 1911. Her father died when she was 8 months old and her mother, who was from Great Village, N.S., was permanently hospitalized when Elizabeth was 5 years old. Elizabeth’s earliest years were spent with her maternal grandparents in Great Village, and then with a maternal aunt in Revere, MA. She attended Vassar College in the 1930s. She published her first book, North & South, in 1946 and her last book, Geography III, in 1976. She was Poetry Consultant (now Poet Laureate) at the Library of Congress in 1949-1950. In 1951 she travelled to Brazil where she then lived for 15 years. In the 1970s she returned to the U.S. and taught at Harvard University. Elizabeth died on October 6, 1979. She is buried in Hope Cemetery in Worcester.

February 8, 2011, marks Elizabeth Bishop’s 100th birthday. The Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia and many other arts groups and artists in the province and elsewhere will celebrate this centenary. Why should we mark the birthday of a poet long dead? Art is one of the enduring expressions of what Elizabeth Bishop described as “the human situation.” Elizabeth Bishop’s art – her poetry, stories, letters and paintings – continue to be read and admired. More importantly, they continue to influence artists today.

The Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia is committed to raising awareness about Elizabeth Bishop’s connection to Nova Scotia, inside and outside the province, especially among young people. With the approach of the Elizabeth Bishop centenary, it was decided to foster this awareness with a Writing Competition, the details of which are found in this brochure and on the EBSNS website: www.elizabethbishopns.org


Even as she was a world traveller who did not return to Nova Scotia to live (though she continued to visit up until her death), Elizabeth Bishop’s memories of her childhood in Great Village were vivid and profoundly shaped her world view. One of her most famous works, a story which is considered a masterpiece, is “In the Village,” about the earliest years of her life. It affirms the significance of her childhood in all her art. It is a story about identity and the power of experience, memory and imagination.

Elizabeth Bishop once wrote, “Home-made, home-made! But aren’t we all?” What is it about the place you are from that makes you the person you are? What is it about your experiences and memories that will shape who you will become? Thinking about all that it means (family, community, society, country), how does home affect your dreams and imagination? How does home inspire you?

“In the Village”: The Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Writing Competition, 2011, is a one-time, short prose writing competition sponsored by the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia to celebrate her 100th birthday. Inspired by her story “In the Village,” this competition asks participants to write about their own sense of place and identity, to tap experience, memory and imagination, the sources of art.

Entries can be autobiographical or fictional, prose stories or prose poems. The idea is for each writer to explore or describe feelings, things, people or events about home and family, place and time that have affected your life and connect you to the world.

The Writing Competition was launched on 15 September 2010. Entries will be accepted until 15 March 2011. Judging will occur during April and May. Winners will be announced on 15 June 2011. Prizes will be awarded at a three-day Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Writers’ Festival in Great Village, N.S., 12-14 August 2011. Winners and all competition participants are invited to attend the festival, but must do so at their own expense. Winners will receive their prizes and read their winning submissions. If winners are unable to attend, prizes will be shipped.


There is no entrance fee for the competition. Only one submission per person. All submissions must be mailed and accompanied by an entry form – no email submissions accepted. Submissions must be postmarked no later than March 15, 2011. Only winners will be notified. Winners will be announced on the EBSNS website and in the media prior to the Writers’ Festival. Submissions will not be returned.

Elementary (Grades 4-6) – 500 words maximum
Junior High (Grades 7-9) – 1000 words maximum
Senior High (Grades 10-12) – 1500 words maximum
Post-Secondary – 2000 words maximum
Open (19 years and older) – 2000 words maximum

See Guidelines for list of prizes.

The EBSNS will provide an audio reading of “In the Village” on its website, which will be posted in the on 1 April 2010. For entrants who wish to read the story, it is available in Elizabeth Bishop, The Collected Prose, Farrar, Straus, Giroux: http://us.macmillan.com/fsg.aspx, as well as at bookstores and online booksellers.

Guidelines and Entry Form can be found on the EBSNS website: www.elizabethbishopns.org

For more information about the competition and festival contact:
Laurie Gunn at ebwritingcomp@gmail.com

The EBSNS thanks the Robert Pope Foundation, the Colchester Regional Development Agency and Nova Scotia Tourism, Culture and Heritage for their financial support.