Elizabeth Bishop

February 8, 1911 - October 6, 1979
Worcester, Massachusetts

Elizabeth Bishop, was an only child from Massachusetts. Her father died when she was only eight months old. Bishop’s mother became mentally ill and was institutionalized in 1916. After being orphaned, she was sent to live with her grandparents. When her grandparents saw she was unhappy, they sent her to live with her mother's oldest sister, Maud Boomer Shepherdson, and her husband George. It was Bishop's aunt who introduced her to poetry.

Her first book, North & South was first published in 1946. When she did a follow up nine years later, That volume, titled Poems: North and South—A Cold Spring, first published in 1955, included her first book, plus the 18 new poems that constituted the new "Cold Spring" section. Bishop won the Pulitzer Prize for this book in 1956.


The tumult in the heart

keeps asking questions.
And then it stops and undertakes to answer
in the same tone of voice.
No one could tell the difference.

Uninnocent, these conversations start,
and then engage the senses,
only half-meaning to.
And then there is no choice,
and then there is no sense;

until a name
and all its connotation are the same.