Admired in a Poem

Today, in my pocket, I find three words:
"Accuracy, Spontaneity, Mystery."

These are the three qualities Elizabeth Bishop admired in the poetry she liked best, according to her essay, "Writing poetry is an unnatural act…" (702) from the collection Elizabeth Bishop: Poems, Prose and Letters (Library of America).

I like thinking about these. Some of my own definitions:
Accuracy—can be precise description, but also the capturing and embodiment of emotion.
Spontaneity—the poem is alive and jumps off the page; fresh words are chosen; words stitched together in new ways.
Mystery—leaves you with a sense of something beyond you,  just out of your reach, something you desire.

Time to look over my files and see if these are there.

Bishop was known as a poet and writer of short stories and essays, 
but she also painted intimate images on paper. 
More about her (written in 2012, the centenary of her birth) in this post.


Martha Slavin said…
Allisa, thank you for your three definitions about poetry. I'm taking them with me when I write.