More coursework: 1 - A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I - J | K - L | M | N - O | P - S | T | U - Y

Essay interpreting one art by elizabeth bishop again

Essay Interpreting "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop

In "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop, the speaker's attitude in the last stanza

relates to the other stanzas in verse form and language. The speaker uses these

devices to convey her attitude about losing objects.

The verse form in "One Art" is villanelle. The poem has tercet stanzas until the

last, which is four lines. In the first three stanzas, the poem is told in

second person. "Lose something every day." seems to command one to practice the

art of losing things. In the three stanzas, first person is used, and the

speaker relates how she "lost her mother's watch" and other life incidents.

However, the speaker addresses her beloved "you," and then in the last line,


Language in "One Art" is simple, yet many literary devices are used. The last

line repeated, to the effect of "The art of losing isn't hard to master"

suggests that the speaker is trying to convince herself that losing things is

not hard and she should not worry. Also, the speaker uses hyperboles when

describing in the fifth tercet that she lost "two cities...some realms I owned."

Since she could not own, much less lose a realm, the speaker seems to be

comparing the realm to a large loss in her life. Finally, the statement in the

final quatrain "Even losing you" begins the irony in that stanza. The speaker

remarks that losing this person is not "too hard" to master. The shift in

attitude by adding the word "too" shows that the speaker has an ironic tone for

herself in her loss or perhaps her husband or someone else close to her.

Language and verse form show in "One Art" how the losses increase in importance

as the poem progresses, with the losses in lines 1-15 being mostly trivial or

not very important to the great loss in lines 16-19 or a beloved person.

Elizabeth Bishop suggests then that mastering the art of losing objects, such as

car keys, does not prepare one for the loss of a person, which adds more irony

to the title. There must be more than one art to losing, if losing a person is a

separate suffering.

About this resource

This coursework was submitted to us by a student in order to help you with your studies.

Search our content:

  • Download this page
  • Print this page
  • Search again

  • Word count:

    This page has approximately words.



    If you use part of this page in your own work, you need to provide a citation, as follows:

    Essay UK, Essay Interpreting One Art By Elizabeth Bishop Again . Available from: <> [27-05-20].

    More information:

    If you are the original author of this content and no longer wish to have it published on our website then please click on the link below to request removal: