One Art, by Elizabeth Bishop

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The concept of loss is a notable theme in poetry, whether its about love, beauty or even life, many poets tend to render it. Such a theme is illuminated upon by Elizabeth Bishop, a distinguished 20th century American poet, who, unlike other poets of her time, usually did not write about personal details of her life in her poems. However the poem One Art can arguably be a contradiction to this fact; for Bishop expressed emotions of losing her dear friend in the voice of the speaker through out the poem. One Art is a poem about inevitable loss and the incognizant of the difficulty in acceptance. In the first few stanzas the poet creates the impression that she accepts losing objects as something so trivial and exceedingly small that it does not flip her life upside down but as the poem continues her emotions are leaked and the readers are able to witness her true feelings as the thing she loses becomes greater in value to her. The poem is about the speaker's notion, that losing things in life is an art and that it is not hard to master such an art because everything “is filled with the intent to be lost.”(1:2) This short quote can have two meanings; on the surface it can mean that the objects she talks about are so small that they are inevitable to lose, like keys and minutes spent doing frivolous activities. However as shown in the final stanza this poem is truly about the lost of someone dear to her and the poet is trying to portray the fragility of a life, as it is created with the intent to be lost (death is unavoidable and everyone must succumb to it.) The speaker articulates tension between ones' own need to control specific life events and the difficulty in the reality of act... ... middle of paper ... ...y ties together the notion of inevitability and disaster. Imminent or impending loss represent the focus of the poem, as the speaker explained, it is in the nature of most things to be lost whether it be something unimportant to us or something we deeply love. No matter the feelings one may have for something, impending loss is always right around the corner. Even something as intangible as our memory and hours spent in a day are subjected to being lost. We forget names, places and time spend doing trivial activities that most often do not impact our lives enough for us to remember them. Whether we choose to accept the pain of losing something or dismiss it as something trivial, the important fact that should be taken away from this poem is that loss is inevitable and most often always tend to correlate with the feeling that is disaster.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how elizabeth bishop's poem, one art, is a contradiction to this. it is about inevitable loss and the incognizant of the difficulty in acceptance.
  • Analyzes the naive yet desperate approach the speaker has found in dealing with her grief.
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