What Elizabeth Bishop and Shel Silverstein have in common

By Poetry Foundation

Next Thursday, Joelle Biele, editor of Elizabeth Bishop and The New Yorker: The Complete Correspondence (FSG, 2011) will be on hand at the University of Chicago International House to answer questions about the collection at a Poetry Foundation and University of Chicago event celebrating Elizabeth Bishop. We took some time to talk to her about what she's into when she's not reading Bishop. It seems like it's mounds of Shel Silverstein:

What line or poem do you find yourself sharing again and again?

"Sick" by Shel Silverstein:

"I cannot go to school today,"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
"I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash, and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more--that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
[...] What?  What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is . . . Saturday?
G'bye!  I'm going out to play!

On your bookshelf but unread:

The Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa.

Can you remember the first poem you read and really liked?

"Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout" by Shel Silverstein.

A cause you would attach your name to:

Anti-fracking (Gasland).

The picture that comes to mind when you hear the word “poetry”:

Looking through the windshield of a car, driving fast.

If forced to quote your own writing, what line or poem would you provide?

Yes, I admit, it was my cockamamie idea.

Expression you greatly dislike:

Hey, batter-batter-batter, hey, batter-batter-batter, swing, batter-batter-batter, SWING!

The longest amount of time you’ve gone without writing [creatively]?

One year?

Favorite public figure:

Corey Booker

Favorite literary device:


When I think of Chicago, I think of ___________.

"Bueller?  Bueller?"

Originally Published: February 9th, 2011