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“None of the books has ever got it right”: A Review of LOVE UNKNOWN: The Life and Worlds of Elizabeth Bishop by Thomas Travisano

“None of the books has ever got it right”: A Review of LOVE UNKNOWN: The Life and Worlds of Elizabeth Bishop by Thomas Travisano

During my first semester at New York University, I was excited to take a survey course in American Poetry. When the old, male professor passed out the syllabus I wasn’t at all shocked to see that it contained just two women: Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop. This was the early 1990s. A time when no one batted an eye to see a canon that was still almost 100 % white and male. The fact that these two women had crossed the line, had somehow been accepted was extraordinary to me. I tried to love Marianne Moore, but got tangled in her long lines. It was Bishop who spoke to me.

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Two Poems

Two Poems

You are growing and this is a starry condition.
Move about this small room called earth
as if fear fell asleep in some other room,

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Green Mountains Review, based at Northern Vermont University, is an annual, award-winning literary magazine publishing poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, literary essays, interviews, and book reviews by both well-known writers and promising newcomers.

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The Thing Itself: A Review

The Thing Itself: A Review

To be tethered to something can be a good thing, can feel safe and secure, can feel necessary. Right now, we are tethered to a situation, to our homes, to our work, to our families, to uncertainty. Even before this time of pandemic that we find ourselves in, we have each been tethered to something or someone, physically, emotionally, or metaphorically, at least once in life if not for an entire life. The first of life’s tethers is the one that connects us to a mother.

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Begin Anew, Over and Over Again

Begin Anew, Over and Over Again

If poetry is inclined to seal itself like a closet, if it embraces ellipsis, elision, mystery, even subterfuge, the poet seems in Knorr’s formulation to be its counterforce, creating new worlds and opportunities for insight and discovery. Ballast, with grace and intelligence, inquires into scenes of love and intimacy, the precarity of the body and environment, and the tensile relationship between constraint and creativity.

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Tangled Moose

Tangled Moose

A moose is not an elegant creature. Though powerful, those thick hindquarters, jug head, and humped back don’t arouse the same awe a mountain lion’s sleek muscles inspire. Moose legs, long and fine-boned as those of a racehorse, just look like matchsticks poking from a matchbox body. They don’t suggest freedom, or swift escape.

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Two Poems

Two Poems

The wounded deer
died in the impossible
garden. Did it become
the orchid that shouldn’t
be there, the cactus dying
in a rain puddle? The trestle
bridge carries more weight
than my body, but the heft
of a memory changes
everything.

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Two Poems

Two Poems

Horizontal pock-marked rocks lie
in the shallow swamp like tombstones
to fallen alligators—as if to say Cassius
lived here, Orion slept there, and Sirius
ate turtles just beyond this path.

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