Compare Contrast Elizabeth Bishop

1 January 2017

Letting Go While “The Fish” by Elizabeth Bishop is literally about fishing, one can dive beneath to the deeper meaning of the strength it takes to “let go. ” Similarly, “In Honor of David Anderson Brooks, My Father” by Gwendolyn Brooks, the meaning of the poem is about the narrator learning to let go of the sorrow that the death of her father caused. Though both poems share similar themes, each speaker’s outlook on life, style of poetry, and the way in which they convey the concepts of poetry, strongly differ.

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Despite the fact that both Elizabeth Bishop and Gwendolyn Brooks won Pulitzer Prizes, both took life routes which were unlike each other’s. Some would say that they were as different as night and day. Bishop wrote poetry to finance her travels, while Brooks used poetry to inspire young African American writers throughout the Civil Rights Movement. Bishop was shy, but was said to have a taste for both the exotic and the ordinary. This comes through in her array of different poems. Some of Bishop’s poems are lighthearted and whimsical, whereas others are more solemn.

Because of her passion for everything with an exotic or unique background, she found many of her poems to use vivid imagery and to be written in free verse. On the other hand, Brookes’ poems were more encouraging and, at times, almost frivolous. Brookes was a well known Civil Rights Movement leader, thus it is no surprise many of her poems were aimed to keep spirits soaring. She manages to not only excite the hearts of young African Americans, but of all races across America with her smooth poetry which seemingly rolls of one’s tongue.

Brookes wrote an assortment of poetry throughout her life time, but he most famous poems would always have a rhyme-scheme that was sure to catch and hold the eye of the reader. As a result of Bishop’s and Brookes’ different life style and poetry technique, it is no wonder that while both addressing the topic of “letting go,” the views they choose to take are extremely diverse. Bishop writes through the eyes of a fisher, a fisher who catches an obviously old, strong fish. As she appreciates the fish she goes beyond the ideals of a fisherman and a fish and begins to see the fish as more.

The fisher seems to come to a higher understanding of respect or admiration for the fish, and lets him go. At the beginning, he was the fisher’s prized possession, and by the end, he is just another free fish. On the contrary, Brookes is talking about somebody she has already “let go,” her father. She writes, not through the point of view of someone who is currently letting go, but through the eyes of someone who has already done the maturing, and let go. She speaks of how great her father once was and how she has faith that his spirit is doing just as great.

Her poem inspires one to move on and remember the good things of a lost one. Regardless of the fact that Brookes was a young African American growing up in a difficult time, she managed to keep her poetry upbeat and encouraging. Though Bishop’s times where not as difficult she captured the lifestyle she lived through her easy-going and detail-oriented poetry. Brookes and Bishop wrote in completely different styles of poetry, it is true, but both have managed to capture the concept of letting go in a relatable and blithe manner. If everyone viewed the world at they did, it would truly be a happier place.

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