Wednesday, March 08, 2006

New Bishop poems?

They're billed as "fragments". If someone sent through my old notebooks after I expired and hauled out bits and pieces and called them poems, I'd be haunting them. When it's a poem, I'll let you know -- that's my philosophy of writing. Until then, it's just material. It's the putting together that makes it.

Edgar Allan Poe and the Jukebox has just been released. Publishers Weekly says of it, "This book is as much Alice Quinn's as Elizabeth Bishop's. The New Yorker poetry editor spent countless hours with the 3,500 pages of Bishop (1911–1979) material housed in the Vassar College library..." A Newsday article calls it a "poet's newly found treasures." I hardly think being housed in the Vassar College Library constitutes being "newly found", and I reserve judgment on whether it is full of treasures.

I'm off to throw away handfuls of my old material, in case, as my husband so amusingly put it, "that asteroid has my name on it." Worse, he named the names of people he will turn to in sorting it all out. I better label my notebooks carefully.