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  • Love Unknown

  • The Life and Worlds of Elizabeth Bishop
  • By: Thomas Travisano
  • Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
  • Length: 15 hrs and 37 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Love Unknown

By: Thomas Travisano
Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
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Summary

An illuminating new biography of one of the greatest American poets of the 20th century, Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop's friend James Merrill once observed that "Elizabeth had more talent for life - and for poetry - than anyone else I've known." This new biography reveals just how she learned to marry her talent for life with her talent for writing in order to create a brilliant array of poems, prose, and letters - a remarkable body of work that would make her one of America's most beloved and celebrated poets. In Love Unknown, Thomas Travisano, founding president of the Elizabeth Bishop Society, tells the story of the famous poet and traveler's life. 

Bishop moved through extraordinary mid-20th century worlds with relationships among an extensive international array of literati, visual artists, musicians, scholars, and politicians - along with a cosmopolitan gay underground that was then nearly invisible to the dominant culture. Drawing on fresh interviews and newly discovered manuscript materials, Travisano illuminates that the "art of losing" that Bishop celebrated with such poignant irony in her poem, "One Art", perhaps her most famous, was linked in equal part to an "art of finding", that Bishop's art and life was devoted to the sort of encounters and epiphanies that so often appear in her work.

Cover photograph: courtesy of Elizabeth Bishop Papers, Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College

©2019 Thomas Travisano (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

“A definitive biography - cum - literary study of Elizabeth Bishop.... Travisano’s essential volume illuminates Bishop’s life, and, most valuably, her work.” (Publishers Weekly, starred) 

"Utterly captivating...illuminating, interwoven analysis of [Elizabeth Bishop's] work." (Booklist, starred)

“An authoritative and sensitive biography.... A finely textured portrait of an acclaimed poet.” (Kirkus)

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  • Chris Wilson-Simpkins
  • 07-03-21

Good writing, bad narration

Overhearing “Love Unknown” from the next room, my son asked, “What creepy, haunted-doll horror story are you listening to?” That is an excellent description of the narrator’s voice for Bishop and her poems. I love Bishop and eagerly awaited Thomas Travisano’s biography, and if you did too, then this format might work for you. If you are new to Bishop’s life and work, please get “Love Unknown” in print.

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  • Deborah
  • 08-02-22

Warning - the voice will irritate you A LOT

I really don't like giving bad reviews, but I have to because I'm so disappointed. To be fair, most of my overall rating is related to the performance. That was the worst I've heard. Good sounding voice but did not like the voice he used for Bishop. Also, there were so many times a topic would come up but then abruptly dropped - author changed topics just as it piqued my interest. I really should have asked for a refund. I'm really surprised by all the great reviews. Oh well 😒

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-06-20

Love the book, just OK with the narration

This is an intimate and compelling biography of Elizabeth Bishop, and I recommend it highly. The narrator, actor Bronson Pinchot, has a decent voice and good pacing, but one aspect of his performance bugged the heck out of me. The book has a lot of text that includes direct quotes from Bishop and many of her female friends. When Pinchot performs these female voices, he affects a fainting, breathless, whispery tone that makes them all sound like winded old librarians. I would have much preferred that he just read the words - or better yet, that a female narrator had done this book. Otherwise, Love Unknown is an intimate pleasure. You will definitely reach the end feeling that you know this major poet of our time.

1 person found this helpful