資料彙整   /   作家  /  Elizabeth  Bishop  依莉莎白•碧沙普
Elizabeth  Bishop
依莉莎白•碧沙普
圖片來源:http://www.poets.org/lit/poet/ebishfst.htm
主要文類:Poem
資料提供者:Kate Liu/劉紀雯;Ray Schulte/蕭笛雷
關鍵字詞:Introduction to Literature:Poetry IV Society & Sound and Ryhthm,1998;Modern and Contemporary American Poetry 1998

依莉莎白•碧沙普
1911-1979
Sara Sun/孫一鳳
 
 

 童年生活

若辭句能畫出色彩,音韻能勾勒線條,詩便成為搭載漂泊心靈的地圖。來往於美國、加拿大、巴西, Elizabeth Bishop 用她敏感的文字,在啟程與停駐的每個時刻,刻畫一張又一張追尋著身體與心靈屬地的地圖。回憶與現實、自我與他人、熟悉與陌生的感受不斷在她詩中交會,每首詩,指引遙想中的歸屬,卻也暗示下ㄧ場旅行的開始, Bishop 是詩人,也是旅人,她把地圖攤開成了詩作,開始旅行。

Bishop 的童年,多的是美麗與哀愁。 1911 年 8 月 11 日 ,她出生於美國麻撒諸賽州的 Worcester ,父親在她未滿一歲時便因故去世,而她的母親長年患有精神疾病,並在她五歲時住進精神病院   ,這次入院,切斷了母親與她之間的聯繫,她母親並於 1934 年在院中去世。因此,在她心中,關於母親的回憶,多半充滿了不安、恐懼、困惑、創傷,而母親,成了渴望卻又似乎遙不可及的模糊影像。即便在不久後,喪失雙親的她與外婆以及阿姨同住,母愛的欠缺也難以被彌補,「家」早已在失去親生父母時瓦解,之後於祖父母住處間的往返,也徒增對「家」的渴望與失落。在她的名作〈六節詩〉( “Sestina” )中, Bishop 重現了她與外婆在加拿大沙克省( Nova Scotia )共度的童年,詩中外婆家的廚房,此一溫暖家庭的象徵,對 Bishop 來說卻像是充滿變數與未知力量的地域,她對家的渴望依然持續,也持續失落。在另一首名作〈在會客室〉( In the Waiting Room )中, Bishop 寫出了自己好似時時處於會客室而非「家」中的焦慮。那更是一種對自我定位的焦慮,從阿姨的慘叫聲與國家地理雜誌中那來自於異界的乳房,她期待拼湊出母親的圖像,卻發現一切,都像牙醫會客室中的人、 事、物,陌生且雜亂無章。然而,三歲到六歲間與外祖父母在沙克省共度的時光,相較於與祖父母待在麻沙諸賽州並與溼疹、氣喘、過敏等等疾病搏鬥的日子,是令 Bishop 感念的。而沙克省的「家」也是她在 1950 年到了巴西之後,在巴西當地找尋且渴望重現的形象。

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 與詩結緣

Bishop 對寫詩的熱愛與才能在她求學的階段便顯露無疑。在 Vassar College 求學期間,她與同好私下發行了刊物— Con Spirito ,內斂的她,喜愛 Wallace Stevens 的詩作,剪了短髮,一如她詩中洗鍊的文字。 1934 年, Bishop 與  Marianne Moore 有了跟進一步的認識,也是這奕師奕友的兩人終其一生的交集的開端。 Moore 對 Bishop 極為賞識,也因為她的引薦, Bishop 在 1935 年於 Trial Balances 首次發表了〈地圖〉( The Map ),這首詩,也被認為是 Bishop 跳脫 Moore 的影響而寫出屬於自己的風格特色的作品,這首詩,之後在她的首本詩集《北與南》( North & South )中也是以第一首的位置出現。如同〈地圖〉 所呈現, Bishop 對於不同地域環境的纖細觀察,一直是她往後作品的基石。 1938 年 Bishop 移居西嶼( Key West ),西嶼的靠海的風景,令他想起在沙克省的回憶,《北與南》中多事她在 1938 之後因西嶼激發的靈感完成的作品。

除了 Marianne Moore 之外, Bishop 與 Robert Lowell 之間的友情也讓人津津樂道。 Bishop 是在 1947 年於紐約結識 Lowell ,兩人成為終身的好友, Lowell 推崇 Bishop 詩中細膩的觀察以及詩句結構與音韻的安排, Bishop 也受到 Lowell 告白詩的影響,開始在詩中酌量抒發自我內心的情感。 Bishop 終其一生,拒絕被歸入任何一個詩派或是風格,包括好友 Lowell 的告白詩,即使描寫自我的遭遇或是情感,她還是好用壓抑內斂的文字表達。這位內斂的女詩人,在日常生活中,在身心上卻是迷亂。 1947 年, Bishop 因氣喘與酗酒問題開始求助於 Dr. Anny Baumann 。她的第二本詩集,《一道冷泉》( A Cold Spring )出版於 1955 年,便是獻給 Baumann 醫生。從她與醫生的書信中,我們也得以窺見有別於詩中的 Bishop ,更貼近她在現實生活中遭受的身心病痛。與《北與南》相仿,《一道冷泉》也有關她在西嶼所見。此詩集中收錄的〈在漁舍〉( At the Fishhouse ),靠海的小漁村,多被解讀為沙克省的重現。詩中人走進海邊荒涼的小漁村,暗示著 Bishop 走進對沙克省的回憶,同時也暗示她回到沙克省,回顧喪失母愛的創傷。漁村面對的大海多變且危機四伏,冰冷的海水與面對茫茫海面的不安全感,更是她童年的感傷。

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 行旅巴西

1951 年,在 Baumann 醫生的建議下, Bishop 展開長途的跨國旅行,她來到巴西,一個她將停留近二十年的國度。她在巴西大城里約熱內盧與 Lota de Marcedo Soares 相遇,機緣之下,她決定停留在巴西,與 Lota 同住。這位常過敏又酗酒的內斂美國女詩人與活躍的巴西女建築師相遇,更進一步相戀,共築在拉丁美洲的「家」。 1965 年出版的第三本詩集,《客中問》( The Questions of Travel ),像是一本旅行記錄,記錄巴西行腳,記錄她在巴西數年間,面對的文化衝突,我們也可從這本詩集收錄的不同詩作中,發現 Bishop 對巴西不同的觀察與描寫,甚至是對當地風土民情的調適,對當地的殖民色彩、貧窮等等社會問題的質疑與觀察。在〈巴西,一五零二年,元旦〉( Brazil, January 1, 1502 )中, Bishop 將自己客居者的身分與 1502 年葡萄牙殖民者將連結,展現一個白人外來者初遇拉丁原始文化的恐懼與優越感。除了抒發自己在巴西面臨的文化衝擊外, Bishop 也重現了巴西當地的文化活動,〈犰狳〉( The Armadillo )寫的便是巴西當地在 St. John's Day 當天施放天燈的慶典,在美麗的天燈與犰狳之外,她沈思宗教慶典對大自然生命帶來的危險與焦慮。

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 一生回顧

1967 年, Bishop 回到美國,教學與感情糾葛充滿她的生活, 9 月 Lota 來到紐約在 Bishop 可能的出軌與躁鬱症襲擊下自殺。 Lota 死後幾年, Bishop 往返於巴西與美國之間,渴望的「家」反覆被重建,也反覆失去。 1976 年 Bishop 的第四本詩集,《地理 III 》( Geography III )出版,如同幫一生的漂泊記載般,收集在此本詩集的作品隱含了回憶與遊歷的交融。除了〈在會客室〉( In the Waiting Room )之外,〈麋鹿〉( The Moose )架構於公車旅行,詩中人看著過往飛逝的景物,半夢半醒間,好像乘坐著一班回到童年的班車,順著回憶的公路,她聽到後座傳來祖父母的聲音。另一首,〈詩〉( Poem ),更像是一本數著回憶的相簿,詩中不斷出現關於加拿大沙克省的意象還有暗示親戚長輩的名字,她寫詩,同時也是在畫出一張回家的地圖,雖然家和回憶的片斷同樣破碎。

Bishop 於 1979 年 10 月 6 日 病逝於美國。終其一生,她在衝突終不斷找尋可能的落腳處,從童年雙親的喪失,到在隔代教養之下心靈的流離失所;從北美到南美,她同時跨越了文化更同時跨越既定的性別法則,在巴西的生活與她的同性戀羅漫史同樣是那樣有著漂泊的傷感與美感。一如她堅持不被學術與詩派定義, Bishop 在她的詩、散文,甚至繪畫中展現失落的藝術( the art of loss) 。因為失落她書寫漂泊,同時也因為書寫,她思考並接受失落。

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Elizabeth Bishop

1911-1979

 
 Her Life

 Adulthood

 
 Her Life
 

Family Background

Within thirty-five years of writing, Elizabeth Bishop has merely published nothing more than 5 volumes of poetry.  Her sparing works, however, have all been refined and highly-acclaimed ones which are celebrated and praised immensely even till now.

Born Worcester in Massachusetts, Bishop was raised by relatives and grandparents mostly because of the sudden death of William Thomas Bishop.  Her mother, Gertrude Bulmer Bishop could not seem to be over the death of the husband and collapsed four years right after William Bishop past away.  Eight-month old Bishop did not know the sorrow of her mother from her father’s death, but as a five-year-old young child, Bishop somehow realized the bereavement of losing her mother to insanity.  Bishop spent most of her early years with her maternal grandmother at Great Village, Nova Scotia, where she had a good memory and lived a carefree life.  When she was taken care of by relatives from her paternal family at Worcester, wealthy life as she might have been brought to live, it is believed that the removal from her grandmother’s residence was later a traumatic experience. 

 

 The Birth of a Poet

As an orphan that had lost her parents at a young age, Bishop had learned to adapt herself to melancholic bereavement and loneliness.  Perhaps it was the scarce living with her mother that made her start to remember and notice things in detail when she was very young.  She became an observant with an acute sense of geography and nature.  She loves animal and the nature, and since she was a child, she observed every detail of things and people that she had spent time with.  This sharp senses of the surroundings make her survive the solitude and her lack of permanent roots, and help her through years of wandering in her adult life.

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 Adulthood
 

A Wandering Soul

After graduated from Vassar, College, she visited her childhood home at Nova Scotia in Canada.  Later she traveled in Europe and in North and South America.  She stayed in Brazil for more than 15 years after she recovered from an allergic reaction which was violent and made her ill for some time.  During the years wandering in North and South America, Bishop formed friendship with Marianne Moore, John Ashbery, Octavio Paz, Robert Lowell, Pablo Neruda and Carlos Drummond.  For those Portuguese poet friends, she also translated their collections of poetry to English.  After years of traveling, finally, she set foot back on United States and stayed at Boston, where she began teaching at Harvard till her late years.

 

An Influential and Life-long Friendship

Among her friends, Marianne Moore is the most influential one.  For Moore was the one that persuade to explore and cultivate her talents in poetry instead of medicine which also interested Bishop.  She and Moore had known each other since the years at Vassar, and not merely did Moore encourage her to elaborate her imagination and her sense of herself, but she helped Bishop in her poem-writing.  They send each other their work and gave each other comments.   

 

Style

Bishop is well known for her keen observation on the nature and geography.  Her very famous poem “The Map” describes detail observation on geographical place and expresses her philosophy of life.  In “The Country Mouse,” Bishop uses her sense of humor and ironically puts her own experience living with relatives into her work.  As a pictorial creator, Bishop put a lot of effort on the images, formal patterns of sight and sound.  “The Burglar of Babylon” is a close description on Rio; “The Fish” is her most popular poem that has been selected into collections of poems and anthology.

 

Awards and Recognition

In 1945, her work appeared in the Houghton Mifflin Poetry Competition, from which there were thirty entries of poems that were later selected and published as North & South in 1946.  Her second collections of poems, A Cold Spring won her the Pulitizer Prize in 1956, and she later received the National Book Award for her collections in 1970, The Complete Poems, and the National Book Critics Circle Award for her Geography III in 1977.  What is worth noticing, Bishop was the first American that had received the Neustadt International Prize for literature.  It was another honor that had made her works receive nation-wide recognition, in addition to Harriet Monroe Award for Poetry that she received in 1974.

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Reference

 

Contemporary Authors Online.  The Gale Group, 2000.

Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols.  Gale Research, 1998.

International Dictionary of Theatre, Volume 2: Playwrights.  St. James Press, 1993.

 

 
   

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