“One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop

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One Art" speaks of irony: between the human effort to master or be skillful in meeting life's many downsides and the inevitability of fate which will always elude understanding. The poem by Elizabeth Bishop about loss of a loved one - a very universal and personal theme - connoting of wild emotions breaking loose from grief, comes all the poignant with the poet's use of the a very structured form, the villanelle…

Introduction

One Art" speaks of irony: between the human effort to master or be skillful in meeting life's many downsides and the inevitability of fate which will always elude understanding. The poem by Elizabeth Bishop about loss of a loved one - a very universal and personal theme - connoting of wild emotions breaking loose from grief, comes all the poignant with the poet's use of the a very structured form, the villanelle.The rhythmic flow of this poem mimics the human penchant for denial, stemming from intellectualizing a threat to one's personal equanimity, until the very last strand of control gives way to truth. Overall, form and content merge naturally in this poem - embodying three elements which make for good poetry: structure, rhythm and voice/speaker. Bishop's "One Art" attests to the villanelle's (consisting of 5 tercets, 1 quatrain, with just two rhyme schemes) effectiveness as a form in containing painful thematic content. The limited rhyme scheme allowed Bishop to highlight the irony of word "master" with "disaster", "fluster" with master, and so on, until one notices that "disaster" wins out at the end of the poem. The structure almost serves as a chant or prayer for the poem, with a line which always says that losing isn't hard to master or that losing something is no disaster, repeated all throughout the five tercets. ...
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“One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop
One Art" speaks of irony: between the human effort to master or be skillful in meeting life's many downsides and the inevitability of fate which will always elude understanding. The poem by Elizabeth Bishop about loss of a loved one - a very universal and personal theme - connoting of wild emotions breaking loose from grief, comes all the poignant with the poet's use of the a very structured form,…
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