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One Art

One Art

by Elizabeth Bishop

One Art Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

"One Art" approaches loss in a rather sidelong manner; it doesn’t dive straight in and attack the big issues, like the loss of a home or a loved one, but instead begins with the little things...

Form and Meter

Oh boy. Where to begin? The villanelle is a complicated verse form, to say the least. It’s actually quite famous for its convoluted structure, and the resulting difficulties it can present to...

Speaker

The speaker in "One Art" isn’t new to the troubles of life and love; she’s been around the block a few times, and probably feels like she’s seen it all. Perhaps we’ve been u...

Setting

This is another of those thoughtful, intensely internal poems that doesn’t have a real setting (after all, we don’t know what Elizabeth Bishop’s mental landscape looked like, thou...

Sound Check

If you’ve ever seen any of those schlocky movies in which an older narrator looks back at the events of his or her past (classic examples include Stand by Me and A River Runs Through It), you...

What's Up With the Title?

"One Art" works on two levels; on the first, we can take the meaning of the title from the first line, and assume that the "art of losing" (1.1) is the only art here. However, if we take a closer l...

Calling Card

Elizabeth Bishop didn’t get her reputation for being a poet’s poet for nothing. Her poems are often praised for their ability to gracefully meld language that feels totally natural and...

Tough-O-Meter

You’d never guess that this poem is actually a miracle of technicality and form. Even though it follows a notoriously difficult verse form, the villanelle, it’s a clear and simple read....

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

If this poem were a city, sex wouldn’t even be at its outskirts. You’d have to go pretty far out into the suburbs to find even a hint of it. Sure, love is an issue here, and a certain l...

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