By offering a fresh look at Bishop criticism that has moved from purely formal concerns and postmodern interpretations to more recent feminist analysis, Victoria Harrison traces Bishop's career, dividing Bishop's work into three chronological periods of activity: her early work, her writing in Brazil, and her late retrospective verse. By examining letters and notebooks, Harrison unfolds the biographical events that influenced Bishop's poetic style, addressing her treatment of such topics as family relations, history, politics, war, love, sexuality, and ethnic differences. Elizabeth Bishop's Poetics of Intimacy is one of the first books to delve extensively into the Bishop archives. Making wider use of Bishop's unpublished work than any other book, Harrison explores Bishop's childhood memoirs, journals, letters, Brazilian travel prose, unfinished poems, and draft material. The reproduction of these archival materials--with revisions, cancelled lines, notes--shows a mind at work and a career in evolution.
"Harrison makes exciting use of drafts of Bishop's poetry, unpublished journal entries, and letters...Harrison's work is strong throughout...[She] is also a fine reader of poems." Cristanne Miller, The New England Quarterly "Harrison's painstaking attention to Bishop's published and unpublished writing, drafts, letters, notebooks, fragments, marginalia and archival materials, some heretofore unexamined, and her equally careful methodology have the personal poetics of a complex figure sho has come into her own." Jean H. Wilson, Studies in the Humanities "Harrison is strong, alert, and sometimes downright revelatory when engaged with poems and stories (especially unpublished writings) that deal with Bishop's inner-conflicts about sexuality, anger, politics, and culture...[T]his challenging contribution to Bishop studies is strongly recommended for advanced undergraduates, graduates, and faculty." Choice