Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Flo's Explication of One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

One Art
Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing farther:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the evoking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

First I would like to start off by pointing out that the poem is done in tercets other than the last stanza which is done in a quatrain. To me this really shows the importance of the last stanza. Elizabeth Bishop starts the poem with the eye-catching phrase "the art of losing isn't hard to master". She repeats this line a couple more times throughout the poem. She makes it seem as though losing material things aren't a big deal, almost like they're intended to be lost. She used the example of keys. As human beings we accept that we lose things. We accept the "fluster" and the hour spent looking for them.

Elizabeth Bishop goes on to say, but what about if we lose things "further" such as the names of people or places we've been. Losing these things still wouldn't bring great "disaster" to our lives. It's still not that big of a deal. She lost her mother's watch and even had a greater lose to houses that she owned. Losing a house seems as though that's a pretty big lose, but Bishop just continues to write as though it's not a hard thing to master at all. Because losing these things didn't ruin the speaker. Of all the things she wrote about in the tercets, of course she misses them, but it doesn't cause a disaster.

Finally, in the last stanza, the quatrain, there is a tremendous shift. The speaker now says that losing a person very dear to her heart isn't hard to do, but it looks like a disaster. This meaning that this lose had great effect on her life and that it still kind of effects her now and that she's not completely over the saddening lose. Throughout the poem the suspense grows all the way up to the last stanza. Elizabeth Bishop creates this suspense by adding greater loses in every stanza.

On another note the elements that Bishop used in her poem really stuck out to me. Her use of punctuation made the reading of the poem so much most brilliant. She uses an explanation mark when she says "And look! my next or last-to-next, of three houses went." This punctuation just yells and hey! Yeah! I lost my houses but it didn't kill me!. I love that she put the little insert (write it!). It really allows the reader to connect with the poem because everyone has had great loses in their lives and are able to fill in the blank with how those loses effected them.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.