Prose

Elizabeth Bishop, edited by Lloyd Schwartz, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18 trade paper (576p) ISBN 978-0-374-53273-4
The most exciting part of the Bishop reissue project may be this volume, which contains all of the prose published in her lifetime, as well as a few hard to find things and a thing or two you won't find anywhere else. As a frequent contributor to the New Yorker (the poet's decades-long relationship with the magazine is brought to life in The Complete Correspondence) and other publications, Bishop crafted all kinds of prose, from autobiographical short stories ("In the Village") to loving reminiscences ("Efforts of Affection: A Memoir of Marianne Moore"); she was as original a prose writer as she was a poet, an under-known fact this volume may help solidify once and for all. The real gem of this book is "Brazil," a book-length essay on Bishop's adopted homeland, whose published version, which came out as a Time-Life guide, Bishop hated. Here we have her original draft, written in her inimitable style: "The history of South America in the nineteenth century resembles Shakespeare's battle scenes: shouts and trumpets; small armies on stage, small armies off stage..." Take that, Lonely Planet! (This title is also available with Poems as a hardcover boxed set, $75, ISBN 978-0-374-12558-5.) (Feb)
Reviewed on: 01/17/2011
Release date: 02/01/2011
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FORMATS
Hardcover - 507 pages - 978-0-374-12557-8
Paperback - 576 pages - 978-0-7011-8627-2
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