One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art" -- Still Keeping My Attention

Of course my attention is very scattered these days. I do like her letters however, probably even more than most of her poetry. I will keep reading at least until Frisch's Montauk comes (up till now, a hard to get Frisch -- I've read it only once -- but the Kindle version is due out at the end of March). Elizabeth is in Brazil. She's in her Lota phase.

*

Excerpt:

To Kit and Ilse Barker

               October 12, 1952
     ... One of the charms of this place is that it almost never feels like Sunday -- maybe because it's a sort of lukewarm Catholic country -- but today it does, and I'm all alone for the time being in the large half-finished chilly house -- with an oil lamp lit at 3 p.m. to keep me warm. No it isn't hot now, but it is starting to get warm again. It was scorching in Rio when I was there last week, but here it's always much cooler. I'll quote from my geography book: "During the summer months the wealthier people (that's me) of Rio de Janeiro seek the lower temperature (9 degrees) and the more active social life of the community at Petropolis, on the crest of the Great Escarpment." It calls up a vision of everyone doing a samba along the skyline, but the social life up here where I am is very limited -- a few friends make it up the mountain over the weekends, and arrive with their cars spouting boiling water, but the rest of the time we go to bed to read at 9:30, surrounded by oil lamps, dogs, moths,  mice, bloodsucking bats, etc. I like it so much that I keep thinking I have died and gone to heaven, completely undeservedly. My New England blood tells me that no, it isn't true. 
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