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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 53 | volume X | March-April, 2007



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 53March-April, 2007
Reviews

Edgar Allan Poe & the Juke-Box

(Excerpts from the book reviews)
Edited and translated into Macedonian by Magdalena Horvat


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p. 1
Various authors

Elizabeth Bishop's unfinished poems in the new posthumous collection “Edgar Allan Poe & the Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts and Fragments by Elizabeth Bishop” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006), edited by Alice Quinn, recently sparked a debate in literary circles – for some critics the publication of the book sheds light on Bishop's creative process, whereas for others it is a betrayal.

David Orr, The New York Times

    … In the second half of the 20th century, no American artist in any medium was greater than Bishop (1911-79). That she worked in one of our country's least popular fields, poetry, doesn't matter. That she was a woman doesn't matter. That she was gay doesn't matter. That she was an alcoholic, an expatriate and essentially an orphan — none of this matters. What matters is that she left behind a body of work that teaches us, as Italo Calvino once said of literature generally, “a method subtle and flexible enough to be the same thing as an absence of any method whatever.” The publication of “Edgar Allan Poe & the Juke-Box,” which gathers for the first time Bishop's unpublished material, isn't just a significant event in our poetry; it's part of a continuing alteration in the scale of American life.
    Just don't expect that change to be announced with a fanfare. In a tribute to Bishop, James Merrill famously noted her “lifelong impersonations of an ordinary woman,” and the observation applies to her writing as much as to comportment. From the beginning, Bishop's work was descriptive rather than assertive, conversational rather than rhetorical and discreet rather than confessional. (It was also hard to come by: in her lifetime, she published only around 90 poems.) This was surprising for two reasons. First, her approach was completely unlike the modes favored by her more flamboyant peers — Robert Lowell, John Berryman — as well as the guts-spilling styles they helped inspire. Second, if you believe art mirrors life, reticence is the opposite of what you'd anticipate from Bishop, whose biography contains enough torment to satisfy St. Sebastian. An abbreviated list: her father died when she was a baby; her mother vanished into an insane asylum when Bishop was 5; her college boyfriend committed suicide when she refused to marry him and sent her a parting postcard that said, “Go to hell, Elizabeth”; and the great love of her life, Lota de Macedo Soares, with whom she






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