Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast

Author, Researcher, or Creator

Megan Marshall


Writing, Literature and Publishing


Megan Marshall

Resource Type


Publication, Publisher or Distributor

Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt

Publication Date


Related Information

Review from Kirkus Review “Bishop shared with Marianne Moore a “near obsession with accuracy of detail and precision of language.” This fine biography demonstrates the magnitude of Bishop’s achievements without ignoring her flaws.” Review from Amazon.com “A shapely experiment, mixing memoir with biography . . . [Elizabeth Bishop] fuses sympathy with intelligence, sending us back to Bishop’s marvelous poems.” — Wall Street Journal “Marshall is a skilled reader who points out the telling echoes between Bishop’s published and private writing. Her account is enriched by a cache of revelatory, recently discovered documents . . . Marshall’s narrative is smooth and brisk: an impressive feat.” — New York Times Book Review

Brief Description

In 1977, Megan Marshall, was part of the last “verse-writing” class at Harvard, taught by the celebrated 20th century poet, Elizabeth Bishop. After learning about a trove of letters following the death of Bishop’s close friend, Alice Methfessel, Marshall was determined to write this biography, portraying the life and career of Elizabeth Bishop. This biography highlights the struggles, tragedies, and love that influenced the poets such as her father’s death her mother’s hospitalization for mental illness, the constant shuttling between her maternal and paternal grandparents, struggles with alcoholism, and her love life. Marshall brings the reader through Bishop’s maturation as a writer, her relationships with other writers, and her many affairs. Marshall also analyzes Bishop’s poems such as “Song for the Rainy Season,” “In the Waiting Room,” and “ A Miracle for Breakfast”. This biography paints the picture of Bishop that commemorates her achievements, but does not ignore her flaws.

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