For Zulfikar Ghose, Elizabeth Bishop was “a brave soul”


Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop

In “COLUMN: Nationalism and the individual artist”Zulfikar Ghose, a Consulting Editor for Interlitq, and a contributor to Issue 3 of Interlitq, writes:

It takes a brave soul who so firmly believes in the primacy of the individual as artist as to refuse to be published if that individuality were to be compromised. One such was the poet Elizabeth Bishop. Although as a woman she agreed politically with the agenda of the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1970s, as a poet she rejected the idea of collections of poetry that contained only the work of women poets and refused to be published in them. In a letter to May Swenson, November 7, 1971, she wrote “I have always refused to be in any collections, or reviews, or special numbers of just women … Always”. Referring to the anthology she had been invited to be part of, Women Poets in English, she asks in capital letters: WHY, and adds, “Literature is literature, no matter who produces it … I don’t like things compartmentalised like that … I like black and white, yellow & red, young & old, rich & poor, and male & female, all mixed up … and see no reason for segregating them, for any reason at all.”

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