Saturday, June 25, 2011

Weekend Poem In Your Post Blog Hop! "One Art"

This week you get a wonderful villanelle from Elizabeth Bishop.  I've been working on one wildly imperfect villanelle myself, and pretty sure the process will have to be its own reward; the form is wonderful to work as a puzzle, but wow is it difficult to do well.  Chalk one up to The Creative Habit's impact on me: stretching through complexity toward insight.  It makes Bishop's success here even more awe-inspiring.

One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied.  It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) a disaster.

                                    - Elizabeth Bishop

Isn't that wonderful? 

Now it's time for you to share your favorite intricately-shaped poem or one about losing or winning or trying.  Or whatever poem you like.  Simply put a poem in your post or leave one in the comments here any time this weekend...

Please make sure to link back to this poetry blog hop if you post on your blog.  That way the other poetry-posters might connect with readers on your own blog.

And please do support the poets who change us with their art. is a great place to start.



Coreena McBurnie said...

This is wonderful!! Thank you for sharing - I would love to read your attempts as well.

LBC said...

I wrote a paper on Bishop in graduate school. This is one of my favorites and I love this idea.

Sidne,the BCR said...

never heard of Bishop but I like this poetry piece. i will be back next week. out of town. using my phone now.

Enbrethiliel said...


I first encountered this poem--read aloud by a teacher with an unforgettably thick German accent--in an English Lit on the politics of writing. I've never forgotten it--or the command to "Write it!"

Laurie said...

Coreena - I loved your poem too, and still admire the fact that you're writing 'em yourself! Hop back tomorrow for my first attempt...
Laura - Really? How marvelous! I'm less familiar with Bishop than with many other poets, but this villanelle motivates me to seek out more of her work.
Sidne - Looking forward to seeing you back next week, and glad you liked the poem.

E - That's funny! I'm trying to read it out loud with a German accent... I am wondering how this poem relates to politics, as it seems so personal...

Enbrethiliel said...


Oh, gosh, Laurie. Now that you bring up the strange fit, I realise I can't remember the rest of the context. Why did that lecturer want us to read this poem? =/

I do recall that she made a big deal of the "Write it!" at the end.

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