Elizabeth Bishop’s poem “One Art” deals with the issue of “loss.” Describing “loss” as an art, Bishop depicts events, originating with common affairs –such as losing a key. As the poem goes on, the losses Bishop mentions surely grow in importance. As they gradually become more emotional, Bishop’s idea of loss as easily “mastered” becomes vaguely delusional. In her poem, Elizabeth Bishop focuses the simple losses in her life in attempts to conceal the true emotion of loss.
From the simplicity of losing a door key to the heartbreak of losing a home or someone dear, Bishop states and restates that loss isn’t difficult to acquire. Loss is, in fact, a commodity in life –things are lost every ...view middle of the document...
” When recounting the loss of her mother’s watch, and that “of three loved houses” Bishop’s words permeate a sense of stamina, inferring that Bishop attempts to cope with “loss” itself.
“The art of losing isn’t hard to master.”
This reoccurring line at first hinted that loss is easily gained. Though, as Bishop’s poem progresses, its meaning shifts into a masquerade, as a mere coping mechanism, that Bishop uses to convince herself of. Coping with loss morphs into state of denial at this point –similar to situations in which one promises not to cry, even though they indeed end up crying. By saying “the art of losing isn’t hard to master” she also contrarily prompting that “the art of losing” is genuinely arduous.
In the last two stanzas, Bishop targets more substantial loses, such as cities where she lived (such as Santos, Brazil, which she inhabited for over a decade), and the loss of a lover. Focusing on the loss of departing a city, or places with attachment, Bishop forges ahead, aiming to dilute the emotional pain that follows loss. In the previous stanzas, Bishop has sowed and reaped the hallucinatory thought that loss can easily be overcome.
“---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.”
The last stanza...