One Art Commentary

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One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost
 keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my
 watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three beloved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

-- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) a disaster.

Why I chose it

She explains a major problem well in this poem. We have so many losses in life and we have to learn how to forget some of them otherwise life will overwhelm us. Only if we do this, we will learn how to deal with the big losses in life and the pain that comes with them.

Elizabeth Bishop is trying to teach this important lesson to the reader and she does this by creating a poem with an interesting structure. She increases the amount that is lost after each stanza so the reader can understand how forgetting small losses can help them get over bigger losses.

She uses a rhyme scheme of ABA in each of her 3 line stanzas and each middle line of the stanzas rhyme with each other middle line of the other stanzas e.g went, continent, intent. With this, the poem flows nicely which helps the reader understand it.

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Also I was curious on the poem because of the title. After reading it I questioned how loss can be named an art. Bishop explains this clearly in her poem.


Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, ‘One Art’, is a poem overflowing with irony which uses the structure and expressions to evoke the emotion of loss which Bishop is trying to convey to the reader. She seems to have lost many things in her life and has written this poem for the sole purpose to reassure the reader that if they find control ...

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