Skip to Main Content

Elizabeth Bishop, Consultant in Poetry: A Resource Guide

American poet Elizabeth Bishop served as U.S. Consultant in Poetry from 1949-1950 at the Library of Congress. This guide provides access to selected print and online resources related to Bishop's life and work.


[Elizabeth Bishop, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing right]. 1956. NYWT&S Collection. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

Librarian of Congress Luther H. Evans appointed Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) as the eighth Consultant in Poetry following Leonie Adams. The Washington Post announced her appointment on August 19, 1949, describing her as "a widely known poet." By the time of her appointment in 1949, Bishop was already well-respected in the literary world. She was the recipient of the prestigious Houghton Mifflin Poetry Prize Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship in Creative Writing. Her poetry and prose had appeared in influential periodicals such as the Vassar Review and Poetry. While she ultimately published nine poetry collections, when she was appointed, Bishop had published just one book of poetry, North and South. A later Library of Congress press release in April, 1974, announcing a joint reading by Elizabeth Bishop and James Ingram Merrill stated, "With the appearance of her first book North and South (1946), it was evident that a poet of great individuality and accomplishment had arrived.”

This guide provides an overview of print and online resources related to Elizabeth Bishop's life and work. To suggest additions to this guide, please contact the Library's poetry and literature librarians.