A Sociopolitical Ecofeminist Reading of Selected Animal Poems by Elizabeth Bishop

Shadi Neimneh, Amneh Abussamen


This article examines the sociopolitical vision of some of Elizabeth Bishop’s poems from an ecofeminist critical perspective. Bishop, a twentieth-century American poet, uses animals and natural elements to manifest her attachment to nature (and women by implication), thus reflecting an oppressed feminist voice through the theme of abused, weak nature. By relating Bishop’s poems to W. B. Yeats’s poem Leda and the Swan, we foreground an ecofeminist relation between the Greek myth Yeats employed and Bishop’s poems. Our contribution lies in the multilayered pattern of ecofeminist defense this article traces in poems like Giant Snail, Giant Toad, Strayed Crab, The Armadillo, Sandpiper, The Moose and Trouvée. The conclusion emphasizes the attempts Bishop shoulders through her animal poetry to renew the old man-nature relation of balance and justice and simultaneously to elevate woman/nature. Bishop's poetry, it is argued, exceeds the personal or subjective and thus contains socio-political, anti-patriarchal thrusts explored in this article through an ecofeminist lens.


American literature, Twentieth century poetry, Elizabeth Bishop, Animal poetry, Ecofeminism, Leda and the Swan, Man-nature relation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.9n.1p.141


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