You must go read Maud on the brilliant but famously unproductive Elizabeth Bishop.
A couple of months ago on a local CBC radio program I heard that journalists from the BBC were in the midst of doing a radio documentary (scroll down to read the description) on Bishop and the importance of her childhood home here in Great Village, Nova Scotia:
For Bishop, Great Village was a place of comfort and security, where she was cared for by her grandparents and embraced by the community. It was also a place of distress – her father had recently died and her mother was committed to a hospital for the mentally ill following a nervous breakdown.
Subsequently, a chill runs through Bishop's writing – such as snow, icebergs and frost – and also a sense of precariousness of being on the edge of something deep and dangerous, like the ocean or air into which she could disappear.
I found the description of that show -- apparently Lavinia Greenlaw, the poet who made the radio piece, even slept in Bishop's bedroom -- but unfortunately the audio doesn't seem to be online. I'm desperate to hear it. So my Poetry Friday contribution this week is my favourite Elizabeth Bishop poem "One Art". Go read it. And then go here to read a couple of interesting paragraphs about the evolution of that perfect poem (scroll down to the very end of the review).
Poetry Friday is hosted this week by Two Writing Teachers.