''Geography'' was always a central concern in Elizabeth Bishop's poetry; her subjects were Boston, Paris, Rio de Janeiro - and at the same time, ''friendship ,'' ''the landscape of time,'' and the human character of ''place.''
The new ''Complete Poems'' gathers three decades of her published work, broadened on either side by juvenilia, translations, and uncollected poems.
The whole range of her poetry is marked by a delicate control of form, tone, and the telling detail, as is seen in the following excerpt. The shampoo The still explosions on the rocks, the lichens, grow by spreading, gray, concentric shocks. They have arranged to meet the rings around the moon,
although within our memories they have not
changed. And since the heavens will attend as long on us, you've been, dear friend, precipitate and pragmatical; and look what happens. For Time is nothing if not amenable. The shooting stars in your black hair in bright formation are flocking where, so straight, so soon? - Come, let me wash it in this big tin basin,
battered and shiny like the moon.