Elizabeth Bishop

(8 February 1911 – 6 October 1979 / Worcester, Massachusetts)

One Art - Poem by Elizabeth Bishop

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,
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Form: Villanelle

Comments about One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

  • (12/6/2017 10:59:00 AM)

    Nice nd interesting poem (Report) Reply

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  • (11/17/2017 8:37:00 AM)

    Wonderful (Report) Reply

  • Glen Sales (9/13/2017 1:52:00 AM)

    Awesome! one of the best poems I like most. truly it illustrates the silence that surrounds every word. (Report) Reply

  • (8/22/2017 11:37:00 PM)

    beautiful poem...The persistence of living ever after a loss especially if what is lost can be replaced (Report) Reply

  • Robert Murray Smith (5/2/2017 10:48:00 PM)

    An interesting poem. To lose one's mind is the ultimate loss not covered in this write. (Report) Reply

  • Sylva-onyema Uba (2/19/2017 11:49:00 PM)

    So many things seem filled with the intent

    Well communicated.

    (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (1/3/2017 11:53:00 AM)

    tom allport
    a lot of things we lose and then we cope, it is all part of being alive. (Report) Reply

  • (3/19/2016 10:21:00 AM)

    A most elegant Villanelle from a writer certainly mastered poetic language. (Report) Reply

  • (3/11/2016 10:15:00 AM)

    Art, loss, mastering. Nothing can be mastered in our lives, least of all in art. But Art (write it!) gives us the best way of coping with disaster and emotional ruin that it entails (write (right) it!) . (Report) Reply

  • Judy Meibach (2/18/2016 11:13:00 PM)

    This is by far one of the most profound poems I have ever read - it is my favorite - while I find the villanelle to be a little bizarre, this particular piece is extraordinary, in all its best - it was used in an American film last year that talked about Alzheimers - and worked so beautifully in this realm (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (1/3/2016 1:25:00 AM)

    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!) like disaster.
    (Report) Reply

  • (12/26/2015 4:24:00 PM)

    What's surprising to me is that so many people interpret the line: 'I lost my mother's watch' as an actual 'wristwatch/pocket watch/timepiece'. I have always wondered if Bishop intended 'watch' as in 'watchful eye/ one that watches over her child' because her mother was gone from Bishop's life when Bishop was only a small child. She lost her mother watching over her- hence, 'lost her mother's watch'. (Report) Reply

  • (12/15/2015 10:14:00 AM)

    There were quotation marks around her -* joking voice, a gesture I love) I shan’t have lied -* that didn't show up in my original post. I wonder why but in the event that they don't show up again I have marked the quote with an asterisk or star. (Report) Reply

  • (12/15/2015 10:02:00 AM)

    When Bishop refers to a loss of her mother's watch it isn't literal. I believe she is referring to the loss of time, time she couldn't have with her mother because her mom was institutionalized when Bishop was a child. Some losses are trivial, keys and poorly spent time but others you might never recover from. The loss of geography could refer to her two week visit to Brazil, in what was supposed to be a step in her South American tour, becoming seventeen years because she fell in love with Lota de Macedo Soares. Lota was a Brazilian woman who became the love of her life. The poems eulogizes the death of Lota, her joking voice, a gesture I love) I shan’t have lied. This loss was a disaster when Lota killed herself while visiting Bishop after being hospitalized in Brazil for a nervous breakdown. After Lota's death Bishop spent most of her time in the states hence the loss of several geographic locations. It is a great poem but the content or meaning behind the words is heartbreaking. (Report) Reply

  • (11/17/2015 2:27:00 AM)

    Humans losses something in the long journey of life. A beautiful poem this experienced. (Report) Reply

  • Sofia Kioroglou (9/21/2015 4:49:00 AM)

    Sublime! A wonderful write that gives ample food for thought! The art of losing is not hard to master! Excellent! (Report) Reply

  • (9/9/2015 7:47:00 PM)

    Love it! Who can even think of something like this? I really enjoyed reading it and hope to see some more great poems (Report) Reply

  • Briony Nicholls (9/1/2015 8:41:00 AM)

    Who can argue with Bishop? Not anyone who has lived long enough to know that constantly losing is a constant. I like the first three lines most of all because of her observation that most things seem intent on being lost, so why mourn them when they finally are lost. I love Elizabeth Bishop's very sharp perception and observation. (Report) Reply

  • (8/11/2015 3:18:00 AM)

    Lovely poem, really enjoyed it. (Report) Reply

  • (5/26/2015 8:56:00 PM)

    My favorite aspect of this poem is the way in which Bishop uses litotes to establish that the art of losing, while it isn't hard to master (i.e. loss is a natural aspect of life) , also is not necessarily easy to bear. I've also always been fascinated by the interjection of Write it! in the final line, which, to me at least, adds a more visceral and emotional weight to the poem which leaves the categorical statement repeated throughout (The art of losing isn't hard to master) somewhat unresolved. (Report) Reply

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