["Gay Chaps at the Bar" is] A sonnet series in off-rhyme, because I felt it was an off-rhyme situation--I did think of that. I first wrote the one sonnet, without thinking extensions. I wrote it because of a letter I got from a soldier who included that phrase in what he was telling me; and then I said, there are other things to say about what's going on at the front and all, and I'll write more poems, some of them based on the stuff of letters that I was getting from several soldiers, and I felt it would be good to have them all in the same form, because it would serve my purpos
Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Elizabeth Bishop's childhood was structured around a sequence of tragedies. Her father died when she was less than one year old. Her mother endured a series of emotional breakdowns and was permanently institutionalized when Bishop was five years old; they never saw each other again. At that point, she was living in Nova Scotia, but after a few years her grandparents returned with her to Worcester. Then she lived with an aunt, meanwhile suffering from asthma and other illnesses.