A pictorial "how to" for juggling three Elizabeth Bishop collections

By Harriet Staff

If William Logan's New York Times review of all things Bishop this Sunday didn't quite satisfy you're Bishop fever, then perhaps a little graphica? In the Barnes and Noble Review, cartoonist Ward Sutton offers a helpful users' guide to reading the new collections of Elizabeth Bishop's poetry, prose and correspondence with The New Yorker. Each book complements the other; Sutton points out that one can cross-reference poems in one book with letters detailing changes (or outright rejections) or use the prose collection which "often crossed into memoir territory" to fill in biographical gaps and background not found in The New Yorker-centric correspondence.

Sutton imagines that these books will appeal most to "poets, fans of Bishop, and anyone interested in the inner workings of The New Yorker," but cautions that others could be overwhelmed in a tidal wave of formality and "inside baseball." But then what is The New Yorker if not a chronicle of formality and inside baseball? You couldn't ask for a better tour guide than Elizabeth Bishop.

Originally Published: February 21st, 2011