Elizabeth Bishop’s longtime friend, Robert Lowell, said she had “the eye that sees things and the mind behind the eye that remembers.” It’s an easy complement to shrug off as prattle between poets. But read Bishop’s “In the Waiting Room,” where she transforms a mundane dentist’s office into the backdrop for her own six-year-old existential crisis, and the description suddenly makes sense. Bishop was known for perfecting the minimalist style, and the warmth of her subjects shone through all the better for it: From fishermen to mental patients, she knew how to make the day-to-day seem divine. Tonight, in honor of the 100th anniversary of her birth, 20 poets and performers (including Marie Howe, Richard Howard, and Tom Sleigh) will read selected poems, as well as excerpts from the new book Elizabeth Bishop and the New Yorker: The Complete Correspondence.
Tue., Feb. 8, 7 p.m., 2011