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Gettysburg Review
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“Emerging Genius: Elizabeth Bishop and The Blue Pencil, 1927–1930”

by Thomas Travisano

She served on The Blue Pencil staff as book review editor and, in her senior year, as editor. Bishop’s multi-faceted, observant, and often funny Blue Pencil writings paint a portrait of a rounded person-of-letters that confounds the image of the elusive, disinterested observer Bishop later cultivated. In tones less guarded than those of her later work, Bishop here states her early views on nature, solitude, gender, the artistic vocation, and the fine art of observation.

“Humpty Dumpty”

by Mary Ann Waters

To be an ellipse, yet to be solid—
well, not quite solid, to be
an ellipsoid, then—no, to be
oval, an ovoid, to be an obovoid, . . .

“The Guardian”

by Elizabeth Loudon

In the city of spoilage, they threw everything into the Tigris: chicken bones, cigarette wrappers, human excrement, dead cows and dogs and from time to time people, glass bottles imported from Egypt. Yet there were, Salah liked to insist, seven kinds of waste. In the city of perfection, each would have its place. There was paper, glass, vegetable matter, animal matter, metals, fabrics, and toxic matter. In the United States, he had heard, they honor such distinctions.

“The Pessimist”

by Jane Schapiro

She thinks if she had a sorrow,
one trauma capable
of absorbing all pain, she’d stop turning over
her past, trying to find a seed of despair.
She’d have one grief pulling, its pothole
deepening a little more each year.

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