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Monday, October 16, 2017


Poetry foundation on Bishop
Her father died before she was a year old. Her mother suffered through serious bouts of mental instability and was permanently committed to an institution when Elizabeth was only five years old.
Bialosky (p. 162):  

Her father died before she was a year old. After suffering from mental instability, her mother was committed to an institution. Elizabeth Bishop was five 

 Here is a stream of twenty five words in which three are not present in the original (if we count suffered and suffering as the same word.) Defenders will say that there are only so many ways to state basic biographical facts.  But statistically speaking, the odds are against such a heavy coincidence of language. This is not mentioned in Logan's review, because he only went after some of the most egregious examples of the verbatim borrowing of phrasing. Her defenders point out that most of the borrowing is biographical, and this would bear out that (partial) excuse.  Still, as part of the overall pattern this does not look good.

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