The Next Chapter·Dog-Eared Reads

Why Catherine Graham loves the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop

The author of the poetry collection The Celery Forest returns to Elizabeth Bishop's collected works again and again.
Catherine Graham is a poet who is influenced by Elizabeth Bishop. (Portrait Boutique, Library of America)

This interview originally aired on May 4, 2019.

Catherine Graham is the author of several poetry collections, including The Celery ForestThe Red ElementHer Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects and the novel Quarry.

One of her biggest influences has been the poet Elizabeth Bishop. She recommends reading Bishop's collected works.

"A book that I go back to as a reader is the collected poems of Elizabeth Bishop. I've been influenced by her from the beginning as a poet. I love what she does. The way that she has so much happening is so subtle. She compresses things and also is able to have an essence to what's hidden beneath. That hiddenness has a presence and a force.

"I think of her incredible poem titled Sestina, which is a sestina, and her villanelle One Art. I go back to her a lot."

Catherine Graham's comments have been edited for length and clarity.


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