One Art - by Elizabeth Bishop  -  and Metapoetry

One Art - by Elizabeth Bishop - and Metapoetry

A Lesson by Judy

This is by far my favorite poem in the world! It has a lot of ways of interpreting it - and I would love you all to take a stab at it- it is written in a villanelle form - which I will explain at the bottom - after you have tried your hand at that you can go back and do the same with the Lowell poem - and between the two begin to understand Confessional Poetry - this rendition of the poem is from the Poetry Foundation's website


One Art

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.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—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.

This is Wikipedia's explanation of a villanelle

A villanelle (also known as villanesque)[1] is a nineteen-line poetic form consisting of five tercets followed by a quatrain. There are two refrains and two repeating rhymes, with the first and third line of the first tercet repeated alternately until the last stanza, which includes both repeated lines. The villanelle is an example of a fixed verse form. The word derives from Latin, then Italian, and is related to the initial subject of the form being the pastoral.

The form started as a simple ballad-like song with no fixed form; this fixed quality would only come much later, from the poem “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle” (1606) by Jean Passerat. From this point, its evolution into the "fixed form" used in the present day is debated. Despite its French origins, the majority of villanelles have been written in English, a trend which began in the late nineteenth century. The villanelle has been noted as a form that frequently treats the subject of obsessions, and one which appeals to outsiders; its defining feature of repetition prevents it from having a conventional tone.

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Added on December 22, 2013
Last Updated on December 22, 2013
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New York, NY

I am a 50+ writer from New York whose specialty is poetry. I look forward to further networking on this site.