Defensive Measures

Lee Upton

illuminating. just as robert frost in all his aphorism became accessible to me once I learned of his meanness and struggle as a person, so do bishop's poems open up despite their neat rhymes and structures. upton argues that the nursery and nonsense styles are defensive measures for bishop's estrangement, lost childhood, anxieties. the empty furniture of all her paintings make sense now. she wrote to lowell, "When you write my epitaph, you must say I was the loneliest person who ever lived."

how is it that people like her and frost come to be 'beloved american poets' for all their benevolence while the darkness of their art gets forgotten?

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