Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments

Elizabeth Bishop, Author, Alice Quinn, Editor ; edited by Alice Quinn. Farrar, Straus & Giroux $30 (367p) ISBN 978-0-374-14645-0

This book is as much Alice Quinn's as Elizabeth Bishop's. The New Yorker poetry editor spent countless hours with the 3,500 pages of Bishop (1911–1979) material housed in the Vassar College library, and particularly with two notebooks that contain drafts from the period 1936–1948, which, Quinn says in an introduction, furnished the "kernel" of the book. None of the material (aside from "One Art," of which 16 drafts are included as an example of Bishop's exacting process) was marked by Bishop for publication but, as Quinn notes, much of it has been quoted extensively by Bishop scholars. Quinn, who also directs the Poetry Society of America, hopes this volume "will provide an adventure for readers who love the established canon," and it is, indeed, a fan's book. But it also contains some terrific lines and images; a few fully realized poems that will eventually enter the Bishop canon; and a delicious look into Bishop's thinking and composition—seeing a bad Bishop poem is a revelation. There are 108 poems (seven less than the Collected ), 11 prose pieces, the "One Art,"some sketches and other visual art, drafts and 120 pages of Quinn's excellent notes. Some of the poems are fragmentary; many contain Bishop's own question marks and possible substitutions; all will be cherished by those who love her work. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 10/24/2005
Release date: 02/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-85754-901-0
Paperback - 370 pages - 978-0-374-53076-1
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