Sarah Stone Humanities
Inspiring Experiment: The Poetics of Gender in Elizabeth Bishop's Work
My honors thesis in Rhetoric will explore the poetics of gender in the work of poet Elizabeth Bishop. While a number of critics began to address the effects of her gender on her poetry in the 1993 anthology Elizabeth Bishop: The Geography of Gender, scholarship on the subject has since waned. I will offer a reading of the techniques Bishop employs to communicate her vexed relationship to gender that is informed by the most recent scholarship on the relationship between gender and literary form, including the conceptualization of gender identity as a continually repeated performance rather than an inherent or socially (singularly) constructed identity. By synthesizing the effects of Bishop’s gender on both the form and content of her poems, I will discover how such a reading can extend and transform our understanding of her work.