Born in 1911 in Worcester, Massachusetts Elizabeth Bishop was the only child of William T. Bishop and Gertrude May Bishop. At about 18 months old her father passed away from kidney disease on October 13, 1911. Bishop's mother was permanently institutionalized in 1916 in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and died there in May 1934. Her maternal grandparents, who lived in Nova Scotia, then took her in. "In the Village" and "First Death in Nova Scotia" express some of her experiences there. Then, on May 1918 her aunt Maud Bulmer Shepherdson as she states “saved her life” rescuing her from her grandparents’ grasps.
Elizabeth’s poor health affected her schooling before the age of fourteen. She began school in September 1916 Grade Primary at the Great Village school and Walnut Hill School (in Boston) for her high-school years. In 1933, Con Spirito alongside Mary McCarthy and and the sisters Eunice and Eleanor Clark she co-founded a rebel literary magazine at Vassar, by the name of Con Spirito. In 1934, she received her bachelor's degree from Vassar College and majored in English Literature.
She didn’t settle down for long and did not need to due to the inheritance from her deceased father. From 1935 to 1937 she traveled to France, Spain, North Africa, Ireland, and Italy finally staying in Key West, Florida, for approximately four years. Her poetry describes her travels some of which are in her 1st book North and South, published in 1946. She also lived for 15 years in Brazil with her lover Lota de Macedo Soares a female architect. The relationship ended due to volatile and tempestuous behaviors stemming from depression, bursts of anger, and alcoholism. Not until 1971 did Bishop begin a relationship with Alice Methfessel whom she was with unt...
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The Collected Prose (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1984)
One Art: Letters selected and edited by Robert Giroux, (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1994)
Exchanging Hats: Elizabeth Bishop Paintings, edited and with an Introduction by William Benton, (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1996)
Poems, Prose and Letters Robert Giroux and Lloyd Schwartz, eds. (New York: Library of America, 2008)
Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, ed. Thomas Travisano, Saskia Hamilton (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2008)
Conversations with Elizabeth Bishop. George Monteiro Ed. (University Press of Mississippi 1996)