Publication details [#3606]

Colwell, Anne. 1997. Inscrutable Houses: Metaphors of the Body in the Poems of Elizabeth Bishop. Tuscaloosa, Ala.: University of Alabama Press. 245 pp.
Publication type
Book – monograph
Publication language


The world of poetic criticism is often murky. Having read and loved Elizabeth Bishop's poems, I was disappointed by much which literary critics have composed in regard to her fantastic work. However, Colwell's book does a fantastic job of illuminating Bishop's individual poems in light of her much larger opus - without sacrificing any of Bishop's artistic vision as so many others have done in an attempt to force the poems to "mean" a certain thing. Furthermore, Colwell's emphasis on how the body constantly influenced Bishop's poetic vision has not only prompted me to reread Bishop in a new way, but also has prompted me to reread many of the poets by whom Bishop was influenced, and thus gain a new understanding of their work as well. (Review by Adam McGee from U.S.A.) Introduction 1. North & South: Finding a Language for How We Know 2. A Cold Spring: The Moving Self in the Moving World 3. Questions of Travel: The Poetics of Evasion 4. Geography III: The Art of Losing