Annotated Checklist

1. Elizabeth Bishop, typed manuscript, "It is marvelous..." (n.d.)

Bishop's poem, "It is marvelous...," was never printed in her lifetime. The poem, perhaps written in the 1940s, is clearly related to "Rain towards Morning": it shares both phrasing and imagery with this second poem from the sequence, "Four Poems," published in 1951 in The Partisan Review. Beyond this primary link, the evocation of birdcage, wires, and the fresh aftermath of storm haunts other Bishop poems. None, however, have quite the unabashed and loving intimacy of this poem.

2. Elizabeth Bishop, autograph manuscript, "Belated Dedication" (n.d.)

"Belated Dedication" peers past the flames of two open stove lids, then through two angel eyes, to land in a privy. Pushing comparisons, Bishop lets tides withdraw from flame-carved mud, while rain lifts to reveal Avernus, the entrance to the underworld. Dedicated to Anny Baumann, whose eyes helped Bishop penetrate deep layers of consciousness, the poem suggests how any aperture of world or body may be searched for mystical correspondence, or used to flip open a hell showing the underside of heaven.

3. Lorrie Goldensohn, Elizabeth Bishop: The Biography of a Poetry (1992).

In 1986, aided by documents in Vassar's Special Collections, Lorrie Goldensohn traced the course of Elizabeth Bishop's movements in Brazil. A few months later, a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanties enabled her to follow in Bishop's footsteps. In Belo Horizonte, Goldensohn, through conversation with Bishop's heir, Linda Nemer, was led by way of her own halting French, broken Portuguese, and dawning, joyful comprehension, to the unpublished poems, letters, and notebooks held by Nemer since Bishop had left Brazil. Eventually all the papers of Nemer's legacy came to Vassar. Most notably, this legacy contained a typescript of Bishop's then unpublished love poem, "It is marvelous..." adorned with its tiny ink doodle of a bed. Goldensohn's Elizabeth Bishop: The Biography of a Poetry, was published in 1992; her essay, "Elizabeth Bishop's Drafts: 'that Sense of Constant Readjustment'" will appear in the forthcoming The New Elizabeth Bishop: Reading the 21st Century Editions, edited by Angus Cleghorn and Bethany Hicok.

4. Elizabeth Bishop, autograph journal beginning "Cuttyhunk, July 1934" (1934-1937)

In the summer of 1934, very much at a loss about what to do next ("Getting out of college seems to be about the worst step one can take," she wrote to her friend Frani Blough), Bishop vacationed for the month of July on Cuttyhunk Island (a primitive outpost twelve miles south of New Bedford, Mass.). Bishop loved Cuttyhunk, as she had loved Nova Scotia, Nantucket, and Newfoundland; and as she would later love Key West and North Haven—because it was an island. In four pages she filled in a brand new composition book, she describes her fascination with all the improvisations of island life, and we see the germ or birth of at least half-a-dozen later poems: from "The Map" and "The Fish," all the way to "Crusoe in England," the poem she did write about "making things in a pinch - & how it looks sad when the emergency is over."

5. Brett Millier, Elizabeth Bishop: Life and the Memory of It (1993)

Brett Millier began researching the life and work of Elizabeth Bishop in the fall of 1984, shortly after the Vassar archive was catalogued and open to scholars. Interested in where poems come from and how they get made, she could only start at Box 1, Folder1andreadstraightthrough. Ittookherjustunderthreemonths,andwhileshe returned to Vassar many times before the book Elizabeth Bishop: Life and the Memory of It was published in 1993, she will never forget that first headlong rush through this astonishing collection, when everything in it was brand new, "fresh as paint."

6. Elizabeth Bishop, autograph manuscript, "Desk at Night" (1950)

This envelope from the Institute of Contemporary Art in Washington, D.C. offers the first known double-column version of a poem that has become renowned as "12 O'Clock News." Addressed to Bishop as poetry consultant to the Library of Congress, it reveals her formal play with the poetic line as well as her concerns about the writer in wartime. The timing of "Desk & Moonlight," or "The Desk at Night," coincides closely with Bishop's experimentation with another two-column format in "View of the Capitol from the Library of Congress."

7. Elizabeth Bishop, Geography III (1976)

The poetry draft "Desk & Moonlight," or "Desk at Night," eventually was revised by Elizabeth Bishop into the poem that we know today as "12 O'Clock News." Published originally in magazine form in The New Yorker in 1973 after Katherine White had rejected an early version in the 1950s, it was immediately regarded as an anti-Vietnam Conflict poem. Later Bishop decided to publish the poem in book form in Geography III.

8. Camille Roman, Elizabeth Bishop's World War II-Cold War View (2001)

The discovery of "Desk & Moonlight," or "The Desk at Night," led Camille Roman to re-read Bishop's writing through the frame of war in Elizabeth Bishop's World War II-Cold War View. While "12 O'Clock News" and "Roosters" have long been regarded as major wartime statements, other writing either has been overlooked or under-read. As Roman re-thought Bishop's work, she began to realize that war had framed her life. World War I disrupted her Canadian childhood because her paternal grandparents insisted that she be brought to the United States; she died as U.S. military involvement in Cambodia neared its completion and thousands fled from the war zone. During her poetry consultancy at the Library of Congress, Bishop faced McCarthyism and a sharply curtailed "freedom of the press." The New Yorker, where Bishop held a long-term contract, printed a "loyalty" statement during this period.

9. Elizabeth Bishop, autograph manuscript draft and an early typed draft of the unfinished story, "Homesickness." (n.d.)

Bishop mentions starting this story in a 1948 letter to Robert Lowell. In 1964, she describes the basis for both story and poem in a letter to Anne Stevenson, author of the first book on her poetry: "My mother went off to teach school at 16 (the way most enterprising young people did) and her first school was in lower Cape Breton somewhere...she was so homesick she was taken the family dog to cheer her up. I have written both a story and a poem about this episode but neither satisfy me yet."

10. Elizabeth Bishop, autograph manuscript of key lines from an early draft of the poem, "Homesickness." (n.d.)

A later fragmentary draft of this poem can be found in a notebook of Bishop's from the 1970s, with the lines:

"Beside the bed, or on it—
where later I was born, and I cried, too--?
Where later I was to be born and cry—
She cried but tried to say her prayers
Frantic & Juno licked her ears."

11. Alice Quinn, editor, Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box, Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments by Elizabeth Bishop (2006)

Robert Giroux, Bishop's longtime editor at Farrar, Straus & Giroux, invited Alice Quinn to edit a collection of drafts of mostly unfinished work in the Vassar College Library. The pages above reproduce in facsimile and type the only developed draft on several pages of material related to this poem, dating from 1948 possibly up through Bishop's early years in Brazil, 1951-55, when she worked on a number of poems set in Nova Scotia in the early years of the twentieth century.

The concluding lines of this draft on the following page of the book are:

"It was too late—for what, she did not know.—
Already—, remote,
Irrepairable (rhyme) irreparable.
Beneath the bed the big dog thumped her tail."

In the last line, "thumped" replaces the earlier choice "thwocked" as can be seen in both this facsimile and the lines in manuscript in the case above.

12. Elizabeth Bishop, "Editorial." Con Spirito 1.1 (February 1933)

During her junior year at Vassar, Elizabeth Bishop and others, including Mary McCarthy, Eleanor Clark, and Frani Blough, started the "rebel" literary magazine Con Spirito. In their inaugural issue, they protested against the misogyny of the literary establishment and its stereotyping of college women when they answered an American Spectator editorial that had criticized Smith and Vassar "girls" for wanting to be "carbon copies of men" and had called their professors "dessicated old maids."

13. Elizabeth Bishop, typed letter signed to Frani Blough (January 4, 1937)

Bishop's wonderful exchange of letters with Blough, one of the Con Spirito editors, has been overlooked in discussions of Bishop's influences, and yet, in these letters, we see the two women making plans to create a community of artists, musicians and writers, sharing experiences, and testing ideas. In this particular letter, as Bishop describes a recent fishing exhibition in Key West, we can hear the beginnings of one of her most famous poems, "The Fish."

14. Bethany Hicok, Degrees of Freedom: American Women Poets and the Women's College, 1905-1955 (2008)

This book traces the influence of women's colleges on the poetic development of three poets: Bishop (Vassar), Marianne Moore (Bryn Mawr), and Sylvia Plath (Smith). Drawing on extensive archival research, it argues that women's colleges provided a crucial intellectual community that supported women writers, provided them with publishing opportunities, and influenced their development, an influence that extended well beyond the college years. These supportive but also competitive communities were distinct from male institutions in that women's ambitions and career goals within the women's college environment were intertwined with questions about sexuality, marriage, and motherhood, which was simply not the case for male writers.

15. Robert Lowell, autograph letter signed to Elizabeth Bishop (September 7, 1948)

Vassar College holds not only Bishop's own extensive writings in manuscript, but the letters she received from her many friends in literature and the arts. Among these were the thirty years of correspondence sent by her closest literary friend, Robert Lowell. Both Bishop and Lowell were noted for the illegibility of their handwriting and in this letter Lowell complains in his own hard-to-read block print about Bishop's minute and steeply slanted scrawl, which was perhaps even more illegible.

16. Robert Lowell, typed letter signed to Elizabeth Bishop (October 25, 1957)

By the 1950s, both Bishop and Lowell were typing most of the letters they exchanged. Bishop is referred to as "receding" in this letter because she was returning by freighter to Brazil following a visit to New York and had been sending Lowell postcards en route from her various ports of call. The poems to which Lowell refers were later collected in Life Studies (1959), the Lowell volume most closely influenced by Bishop.

17. Thomas Travisano, Midcentury Quartet: Bishop, Lowell, Jarrell, Berryman, and the Making of a Postmodern Aesthetic (1999)

In Midcentury Quartet Travisano explores the literary circle formed by Bishop, Lowell and their friends, contemporaries and literary peers Randall Jarrell and John Berryman. In the course of his research for the volume, Travisano became aware of the extent, literary quality, and historical importance of Bishop's long correspondence with Robert Lowell, an observation that convinced him of the need for a complete edition of their letters.

18. Thomas Travisano, Words in Air: the Complete Correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell (2008)

The 459 letters between Bishop and Lowell published in Words in Air extend to 875 printed pages. In the course of their lively exchange over three decades, they reveal their flair for amusing gossip, their deep mutual affection, and the extensive and abiding influence each correspondent exerted on the other's poetry. The endpapers of Words in Air reproduce facsimiles of the typed and handwritten letters from Lowell to Bishop that are seen above.

19. Elizabeth Bishop, typed fragment, "Simple-Minded Morning Song" (no date)

"Breakfast Song" is the most achingly personal of Elizabeth Bishop's unpublished love poems. The only complete extant version is a copy Lloyd Schwartz made from a now lost Bishop notebook. This typed draft of the opening lines in the Vassar Archives, under the title "Simple-Minded Morning Song," verifies that the poem is actually Bishop's.

20. Elizabeth Bishop, typed manuscript, Brazil, Chapter 10 (n.d.)

One of Bishop's largest enterprises, the one for which she got paid the most, was the Life World Library Brazil (1962), a book of history, culture, and photographs. To Bishop's consternation, the editors of Life, who are credited as co-authors, made many changes in what she wrote, usually making her attitudes toward Brazil seem more condescending. Vassar has the original typescript of all but one chapter. The most radically different is the final chapter. In her original version, Bishop compares Brazil more favorably to the United States on the issue of racism.

21. Lloyd Schwartz, Elizabeth Bishop: Poems, Prose and Letters (2008)

"Breakfast Song" first appeared posthumously in The New Yorker (December 23/30, 2002). It has been reprinted a number of times and was set to music by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison as part of his Bishop song cycle, North and South, recorded for Naxos Records by the late mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. The poem is included in the Library of America's Elizabeth Bishop: Poems, Prose, and Letters (2008), the most comprehensive edition of Bishop's published and unpublished work.

22. Lloyd Schwartz, Elizabeth Bishop: Prose (2011).

In celebration of the centennial of Bishop's birth, her publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, has issued major new and reconceived editions of her poems and prose. Bishop's original version of the Life World Library Brazil, whose publication she repudiated, is one of the significant additions to the new prose volume.

23. Elizabeth Bishop, typed manuscript, "Mimoso, Near Death" (1959?), p. 1

Bishop wrote three pages of notes about an aged donkey, the first and third of which were reproduced in Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box and Poems, respectively (each being uniquely interesting). Bishop used images from the first draft in "Manuelzinho" (the donkey, renamed "Formoso") and "Under the Window: Ouro Prêto" (the blue color of the truck becoming "a blue cloud of burning oil," and the message re-translated as "not much money but it is amusing").

24. Elizabeth Bishop, typed manuscript, "Mimoso, Near Death" (1959?), p. 3

In the third draft, Bishop's vision of the donkey in the truck-body amid red grasses is refined in two linked sketches. One is a complete lyric, the donkey purposeful and yet at standstill, travelling towards its transformation (the title changed from the evocative "Mimoso, Near Death" to "Death of Mimoso"). The other plays more openly with the allusion in her vision to 2 Kings 1, with its story of Elijah, the captains, and the fires from heaven.

25. Saskia Hamilton, Elizabeth Bishop: Poems (2010)

Elizabeth Bishop: Poems provides a stable Bishop edition for the general reader. Its primary aim is to respect Bishop's standards for her work. Bishop indicated her wishes for the poems from her first three books when she assembled The Complete Poems (1969). (Its title would seem to mean "the full number or amount" of her poems, and records show that it was first conceived as a "Collected Poems." But it undoubtedly became a selection, made by Bishop, and can be interpreted as her final, or nearly final, view of her work until 1969—what she may have considered her "completed poems.") Poems also restores the original order of her final book, Geography III. All other published poems and translations that she did not include in either of those two volumes appear in the final sections. An appendix offers a selection of manuscript poems of literary interest that were published posthumously, including the Mimoso poem.

26. Katharine White, typed notes for Elizabeth Bishop (November 10, 1952)

New Yorker editor Katharine White's notes to Bishop about her story "Gwendolyn." White sent the notes and a proof to Bishop on November 10, 1952. The crossed out lines refer to White's note ten. They read: "If I care to, I can bring back the exact sensation.- of irremediable solitude abject, inevitable abandonment today.-, just by thinking of about it; but then". The others refer to note thirteen: "To tease me, B. stepped on them and crushed its inhabitant. When we had finally made up after this violence [we sat & talked] talked, [for a while] desultorily,- about death and going to heaven, but as it got later we grew we were growing [a little] bored & reckless,". Note one became a source of tension, since Bishop disagreed with the magazine's policy of immediately locating a story. After further revision, "Gwendolyn" appeared in the June 27, 1953, issue.

27. Joelle Biele, Elizabeth Bishop and the New Yorker: The Complete Correspondence (2011).

Elizabeth Bishop and the New Yorker: The Complete Correspondence offers a glimpse into the writing process of one of the twentieth-century's most celebrated poets. Bishop published the vast majority of her poems in the magazine's pages. From 1933 until her death in 1979, hundreds of letters passed between Bishop and her editors, Charles Pearce, Katharine White, and Howard Moss. Bishop discussed everything from the ideas for her poems, to the placement of commas, to the structure of a story while her editors offered generous support and commentary. They quickly developed a friendship that for Bishop became sustaining but was not without complications. Their correspondence provides an unparalleled look into Bishop's writing process, the relationship between a poet and her editors, the internal workings of The New Yorker, and the process of moving a poem from manuscript to print. The book comes from research at Vassar and the New York Public Library.

28. Elizabeth Bishop, typed letter signed to Linda Nemer (March 24, 1971)

Returning to Brazil in 1971 from her second stint of teaching at Harvard, Bishop settled into Casa Mariana, in Ouro Preto, hoping to write, or at least get her papers in order. She relied heavily on her young Brazilian friend Linda Nemer for company and comfort, though Linda was usually away teaching in Belo Horizonte. Perhaps wishing to entice Linda to visit, Bishop enclosed this poem in Portuguese, which she had written when she first moved back to Cambridge the year before.

29. Elizabeth Bishop, typed manuscript signed (September 27-28, 1970)

Back in the US after her long sojourn in Brazil, Bishop felt homesick and dislocated, especially while she was uncomfortably perched in temporary rooms in a men's residence. She wrote letter after letter to her young Brazilian friend Linda Nemer, complaining of the fast pace and excessive prosperity of the US, and drafted this poem in Portuguese for Linda—an extraordinary "effort of affection" for a poet who struggled with the language.

30. Carmen L. Oliveira and Barbara Page, Driving to the Interior: Elizabeth Bishop in Brazil (in process)

In this book the authors tell the story of Elizabeth Bishop's more than two decades in Brazil, from her arrival late in 1951 to her last stay in 1974 in Ouro Preto, at Casa Mariana, the third of her "loved houses" mourned in her poem "One Art." Accompanying the book is a multimedia website, displaying photographs and slides Bishop took in Brazil, together with examples of the music—especially sambas and carneval marchas she relished—as well as modernist art and architecture, folk crafts and culture, and elements of Brazilian natural life which fascinated her. The authors follow Bishop into the company of many of Brazil's most distinguished poets, writers, artists and architects. They trace her footsteps as she travels widely in Brazil, recording her impressions. As her story unfolds, they place her poems and prose in these illuminating contexts.

Contributors to the Checklist

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

Lorrie Goldensohn was appointed in 2008 as a Fulbright Walt Whitman Distinguished Chair at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, and returned to lecture on Dickinson and Whitman in Amsterdam and Nijmegen in 2011. Her American War Poems: An Anthology was published in 2006 by Columbia University Press. Dismantling Glory: Twentieth Century Soldier Poetry, also from Columbia, was nominated for a National Book Critic's Circle Award in 2004. Professor Goldensohn's Elizabeth Bishop:The Biography of a Poetry, 1992, earned a nomination for a Pulitzer Prize. She taught at Vassar from 1982 to 2000, and now lives in Cabot, Vermont.

Saskia Hamilton is a poet and the co-editor of Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell (2008). She advised Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the publisher's edition of Elizabeth Bishop: Poems (2011). She is also the editor of The Letters of Robert Lowell (2005), and her books of poems are As for Dream (2001) and Divide These (2005). She teaches at Barnard College.

Bethany Hicok received her Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in 1996 and is now Associate Professor of English at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, where she has taught since 2001. She is the author of Degrees of Freedom: American Women Poets and the Women's College, 1905-1955 (Bucknell 2008), which looks at the influence of the women's college on the poetic development of three American poets—Marianne Moore (Bryn Mawr, 1909); Elizabeth Bishop (Vassar, 1934); and Sylvia Plath (Smith, 1955). She is the co-editor (with Thomas Travisano and Angus Cleghorn) of The New Elizabeth Bishop: Reading the 21st Century Editions, a collection of new essays on Bishop that is under contract with the University of Virginia Press and due out in 2012. She has also written on Moore, Bishop and Wallace Stevens for such publications as the Journal of Modern Literature, Contemporary Literature, and The Wallace Stevens Journal. Hicok received an NEH grant last year to study Brazilian writers as part of a summer seminar held in São Paulo, Brazil in July 2010 and is currently working on a new book project, Elizabeth Bishop in Brazil.

Brett Millier is the Reginald L. Cook Professor of American Literature and Chair of the Department of English and American Literatures at Middlebury College in Vermont. She is the author of Elizabeth Bishop: Life and the Memory of It and Flawed Light: American Women Poets and Alcohol, and the associate editor of The Columbia History of American Poetry. She is currently at work on a critical biography of the American poet Jean Garrigue. Prof. Millier holds a Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Stanford University, and a B.A. in American Studies from Yale. She hails from Oregon, and has taught at Middlebury since 1986, specializing in American poetry, twentieth-century American fiction, and Canadian literature.

Camille Roman published Elizabeth Bishop's World War II-Cold War View in addition to several related essays, including "Cold War 1950: Elizabeth Bishop and Sylvia Plath" ("In Worcester, Massachusetts": Essays on Elizabeth Bishop). Her blog on her first encounter with Bishop appeared in the summer of 2010 on the Elizabeth Bishop centennial website in Canada. She is a longterm member of the advisory board of The Elizabeth Bishop Society and has represented the society in the Society for the Study of American Women Writers (SSAWW). She is currently coediting a Frost and Hemingway project that includes Bishop. Roman has edited a dozen books on American and twentieth century musics, women and language, and American poetries.

Barbara Page is Professor Emeritus of English at Vassar College, where she also served as Chair of the English Department and Acting Dean of the Faculty. She has published a number of essays based on research in the Elizabeth Bishop Papers at Vassar, including one of the first: "Shifting Islands: Elizabeth Bishop's Manuscripts," in Shenandoah (1981-82). Her most recent essay will appear in the forthcoming University of Virginia Press volume, The New Elizabeth Bishop: Reading the 21st-century Edition. She is currently writing a book, with co-author Carmen L. Oliveira, tentatively titled Elizabeth Bishop in Brazil, accompanied by a website documenting and illustrating Bishop's life in Brazil.

Alice Quinn is executive director of the Poetry Society of America, and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University's School of the Arts. From 1987 to 2007 she was poetry editor at The New Yorker magazine, and before that she was for ten years poetry editor at Alfred A. Knopf. In 2006 she edited Edgar Allan Poe & the Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments, which made available unfinished work of Elizabeth Bishop. She is currently at work on an edition of Bishop's notebooks.

Lloyd Schwartz is Frederick S. Troy Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Classical Music Editor of The Boston Phoenix, and a regular commentator for NPR's Fresh Air. His most recent book of poems is Cairo Traffic (University of Chicago Press). He is co-editor of the Library of America's Elizabeth Bishop: Poems, Prose, and Letters and the editor of Farrar, Strauss and Giroux's Centennial Edition of Bishop's Prose. His poems, articles, and reviews have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, The New Republic, The Paris Review, The Pushcart Prize, and The Best American Poetry. In 1994, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.

Thomas Travisano is Professor of English and Chair of English and Theatre Arts at Hartwick College, where he has also recently served as Wandersee Scholar in Residence. He is the author of Elizabeth Bishop: Her Artistic Development (1988) and Midcentury Quartet: Bishop, Lowell, Jarrell, Berryman and the Making of a Postmodern Aesthetic (1999). He is principal editor of Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. He is also co-editor of the three volume New Anthology of American Poetry (2003, 2005, and forthcoming) and of Gendered Modernisms: American Women Poets and Their Readers (1996). His most recent project is a forthcoming collection of essays on the "new" Elizabeth Bishop who emerges from the 21st century editions of her poetry, prose and letters. Travisano is founding president of the Elizabeth Bishop Society and Senior Advisor to the Robert Lowell Society. He is now beginning work on a new critical biography of Elizabeth Bishop.