Poetry fans have long loved the letters of Elizabeth Bishop, which were first collected and published in 1995. But a large cache of more revealing letters were not made public. In a new biography of Bishop, the writer Megan Marshall discovered that the poet’s unpublished letters give new insight into the work of a writer who was much more reserved in her work than the confessional poets who gained popularity in the nineteen-sixties. In her book, Marshall concludes that Bishop’s most famous poem, “One Art,” was inspired by the woman with whom Bishop had a late, closeted affair. The New Yorker’s David Haglund speaks with about Marshall about the new biography, “Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast.”
Poems by Elizabeth Bishop were used with permission from Farrar, Straus & Giroux and help from the Recorded Sound Research Center at the Library of Congress.