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Elizabeth Bishop Centenary



Reading through all the events and comments today on the 100th anniversary of Elizabeth Bishop's birth, I'm struck by the quietness around Bishop's sexuality. This is doubtlessly due to Bishop's own discretion in her work.  Despite the passion and loss communicated through her art, outright eroticism was rare in her work. One gorgeous exception is "Vague Poem" in the posthumous collection of her unpublished poems Edgar Allan Poe & the Juke-Box: 

... Just now, when I saw you naked again, 
I thought the same words: rose-rock, rock-rose...
Rose, trying, working, to show itself,
forming, folding over,
unimaginable connections, unseen, shining edges.
Rose-rock, unformed, flesh beginning, crystal by crystal,
clear pink breasts and darker, crystalline nipples,
rose-rock, rose-quartz, roses, roses, roses,
exacting roses from the body,
and the even darker, accurate, rose of sex--- 


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