Elizabeth Bishop

prize winner, 1956

Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop was born on February 8, 1911, in Worcester, Massachusetts. When she was less than a year old, her father died, and shortly thereafter, her mother was committed to a mental asylum. Bishop was first sent to live with her maternal grandparents in Nova Scotia and later lived with paternal relatives in Worcester and South Boston. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1934. Biship wrote slowly and published sparingly (her Collected Poems number barely one hundred), but the technical brilliance and formal variety of her work is astonishing. She received the 1956 Pulitzer Prize for her collection, Poems: North & South/A Cold Spring. Her Complete Poems won the National Book Award in 1970. That same year, Bishop began teaching at Harvard University, where she worked for seven years. She died in 1979.

excerpted from poetryfoundation.org