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Edited by William Benton
Categories: 20th Century, American, Art, Women
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (128 pages)
(Pub. Oct 2011)
Out of Stock
What one seems to want in art, in experiencing it, is the same thing that is neccessary for its creation, a self-forgetful, perfectly useless concentration. Elizabeth Bishop
...we had had the Calders here...They've spent time in Brazil before, and they love to samba. Calder went sambaing all over the terrace, wearing a bright orange shirt, just like a calendula swaying in the breeze.
from a letter by Elizabeth Bishop of 8 September 1959
Elizabeth Bishop was a painter throughout her life, although few were aware of her originality as an artist. It was not until 1993 that her forty surviving paintings were tracked down, identified and exhibited by the poet and art critic William Benton, in a process whose frustrations and serendipities he describes in his introduction. Reproduced for the first time in the original, hardback edition of Exchanging Hats in 1997, Bishop's subtle, confident artworks illuminate the 'painterly' qualities of her poetry.
This revised edition of Exchanging Hats contains an updated introduction, revised and corrected details for the provenance of each painting, and a new afterword locating Bishop's paintings within the wider context of contemporary art.
'Mirrors... throughout her work pretty consistently stand for the imagination... did she realise that the act of looking is always reflective? No matter how intently she searched nature for an identity, she could see only what her eye and mind perceived. Geography could provide her with no more than a reflection in the transparent glass of her own polished window.'
'You can see Klee or Vuillard in her paintings and her poetry, not because she imitated them but because she liked them and saw what they saw... As Benton says and this delightful book shows, Bishop was 'her own best influence'.'
Lavinia Greenlaw, Independent on Sunday
'Bishop's... paintings are not 'interesting' forays into an essentially alien form, nor are they divorced from the central intelligence of the poems... they come from the same extraordinary source and make a justified claim to attention in their own right.'
Jamie McKendrick, Times Literary Supplement
Praise for Elizabeth Bishop 'Beautifully and fascinatingly annotated...you can see the great poems themselves emerging. A complete treasure-house.'
Sam Leith, The Telegraph
'For those who love Elizabeth Bishop, there can never be enough of her writing. The arrival of this trove of unknown manuscripts is therefore a stupendous event.'
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