Essay about One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

Essay about One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

Length: 1505 words (4.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art” is a retrospective contemplation on how it should be easy to deal with losses. The poem is structured as a villanelle and, as such, has a refrain. The refrain does not change structurally but, it’s meaning changes as the poem progresses. Bishop achieved this mainly through the evolution of imagery in the villanelle which moves from superficial objects to references of places and people that are deeply personal to the speaker. The speaker’s break in her confident façade in the final stanza also contributes to the change in the refrain’s meaning as it reveals how the speaker is not so unaffected by losses. Likewise, the repetition of disaster helps frame the evolution of the refrain’s meaning as the word is used in different contexts. Last but not least, the refrain’s structure and diction allow it the flexibility needed for the meaning to change.
The poem follows the structure of the villanelle very closely. “One Art” has five tercets and one quatrain that have the same two repeating rhymes. The villanelle also requires two refrains that are presented in the first tercet as the first and last line and then are alternately used as the final line of each tercet until the quatrain where they are used as the third and fourth line. In the poem, there is one obvious refrain which is “The art of losing isn’t hard to master” (Bishop, 1). This refrains is fairly consistent throughout the poem. However, Bishop does not strictly adhere to the villanelle structure when dealing with the second refrain. The second refrain is not a typical refrain as in it is not a repeated line but a repeated word. Bishop uses the word “disaster” (Bishop, 3) in the place of a whole entire line (for clarity’s sake during this essay i...


... middle of paper ...


...at the beginning it simply seems to be saying that it is easy to lose things, by the end it is clear that the poem speaks volumes about how loss is not as simple as it seems and it can be extremely difficult to cope with. When the vulnerable and emotional side of the speaker is exposed, the speaker’s statements of it being easy to lose things no longer ring true. Additionally as the imagery becomes more personal it becomes harder for the speaker to deny that their loss is not a disaster and that it does not affect the speaker. Because of this, the refrain becomes more than a comment on the ease of losing things but more the complex emotions that revolved around coping with loss.



Works Cited

"Elizabeth Bishop: Biography" Poetry Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2014 http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/elizabeth-bishop

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/176996

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Mastering the Art of Losing in Elizabeth Bishop’s Poem, One Art Essay

- Mastering the Art of Losing in Elizabeth Bishop’s Poem, One Art In the poem “ One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop, the act of losing is raised to the level of an art form. Losing is, according to Bishop, something not to be mastered or dreaded. However, the irony is that Bishop struggles to believe her own hypothesis-- that losing “... isn’t hard to master...” yet “... is no disaster...” ( lines 1-3). Naming the poem “ One Art” was done to show that the art of losing is one of many and loss is not to be taken as disaster or failure....   [tags: Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art]

Free Essays
438 words (1.3 pages)

Essay on Elizabeth Bishop's One Art

- Considered by many as a poet for poets, Elizabeth Bishop was one of the most refined voices of the American poetry of the last century. She was known as one of the best female American poets of the contemporary period famous for her style patent with simplicity and precision. Her work was famous for disclosing the mysteries of her personal life by cleverly chosen representations. In her very-famous villanelle, “One Art,” Bishop’s tone seems relaxed at first impression, yet the reader can later feel her disguised frustration....   [tags: Literature]

Powerful Essays
1280 words (3.7 pages)

Essay about One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

- Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art” is a retrospective contemplation on how it should be easy to deal with losses. The poem is structured as a villanelle and, as such, has a refrain. The refrain does not change structurally but, it’s meaning changes as the poem progresses. Bishop achieved this mainly through the evolution of imagery in the villanelle which moves from superficial objects to references of places and people that are deeply personal to the speaker. The speaker’s break in her confident façade in the final stanza also contributes to the change in the refrain’s meaning as it reveals how the speaker is not so unaffected by losses....   [tags: refrain, poem,losses]

Powerful Essays
1505 words (4.3 pages)

Loss In "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop Essay

- One Art by Elizabeth Bishop is a poem that explores loss in comparison to an art; however, this art is not one to be envied or sought after to succeed at. Everyone has experienced loss as the art of losing is presented as inevitably simple to master. The speaker’s attitude toward loss becomes gradually more serious as the poem progresses. Keys, having virtually no reason for emotional attachment, are mentioned in line 5 with a tone of acceptance that, “Yes, it is okay to lose keys.” Although vital to the penetration of a lock, keys are such a generic object that they can be easily replaced and, aside from the inability to open that door, will not be missed for long....   [tags: Poetry]

Powerful Essays
675 words (1.9 pages)

Essay about One Art, by Elizabeth Bishop

- 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....   [tags: Thematic Analysis, Loss]

Powerful Essays
1153 words (3.3 pages)

Disaster in Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art Essay

- Disaster in Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art Art is not life. More, it is a deception, mirroring experience and emotion, but never truly becoming that which it reflects. Art is attractive in that it is a controlled balance between rigid structure, which is too mundane for its purposes, and chaotic discord, which is too feral. Poetry is art. Loss is not. In her villanelle “One Art,” Elizabeth Bishop proves this to be so. The poem itself is an emotive crescendo, and while its speaker struggles to hold the pain of loss within the confines of art, its readers note the incongruity of such an effort....   [tags: One Art]

Powerful Essays
559 words (1.6 pages)

Essay about Elizabeth Bishop's One Art and The Waiting Room

- ... When her aunt cried out from the dentist office she felt her as a fullish women, but because she is reacting In a similar way to the magazine, she compares her aunts foolishness to her own. It was an unexpected realization that her reactions connected her to her aunt in a way she never felt before in her six years. “Lose something everyday. Accept the fluster/of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.”(48-49), The speaker wants to show us that theres nothing you can do but to accept you will lose things and to not let it get to you....   [tags: american poet, short story, writer, author]

Powerful Essays
981 words (2.8 pages)

Elizabeth Bishop's "the Fish" and "One Art" Essay

- "The Fish" and "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop are two poems written at two different stages of the poet's life. The two poems are very different. "The Fish" was written while Bishop was in her thirties, and "One Art was written during her sixties. "The Fish" is filled with poetic images all for the reason of making a powerful point, whereas "One Art" is more about dealing with loss, especially that of loved ones. "The Fish" was written to provoke a point while giving the reader a powerful set of images and details about the fish, making it into not only a poem with a purpose, but also a poem for the sake of visual language....   [tags: Poetry]

Free Essays
446 words (1.3 pages)

Analysis of The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop Essay

- A poem without any complications can force an author to say more with much less. Although that may sound quite cliché, it rings true when one examines “The Fish” by Elizabeth Bishop. Elizabeth’s Bishop’s poem is on an exceedingly straightforward topic about the act of catching a fish. However, her ability to utilize thematic elements such as figurative language, imagery and tone allows for “The Fish” to be about something greater. These three elements weave themselves together to create a work of art that goes beyond its simple subject....   [tags: elements, language, imagery, tone]

Powerful Essays
976 words (2.8 pages)

Human Interaction with Nature in the Works of Aldo Leopold and Elizabeth Bishop

- Human Interaction with Nature in the Works of Aldo Leopold and Elizabeth Bishop The poet Elizabeth Bishop and the naturalist Aldo Leopold share a keen power of observation, a beautifully detailed manner of writing, a love for the beauty of nature, and an interest in how people interact with the natural world. Like Leopold, Bishop examines human interactions with nature on both the personal and the ecological level. On the individual level, a hunter’s contact with the animal he or she is hunting changes his or her attitude toward nature in both Bishop’s poem “The Fish” and Leopold’s essay “Thinking Like a Mountain.” On the larger level, both Bishop in her poem “The Mountain” and Leopold thro...   [tags: Comparison Compare Contrast Essays]

Powerful Essays
1697 words (4.8 pages)