Abstract

This article examines Elizabeth Bishop’s relationship with the metaphysical poetry of George Herbert and John Donne demonstrating a baroque consciousness in Herbert’s and Donne’s poetry. This consciousness is found in Counter-Reformation artworks and popular reform texts, such as St. Ignatius Loyola’s The Spiritual Exercises, in conjunction with the seventeenth-century’s cosmological findings of the plurality of the universe. In responding to these poets’ works, this article introduces some of Bishop’s poems that exemplify the baroque style of poetry as a spatial form, exhibiting a plural expanse that can spatialize innumerable secular ideas in the manner of cosmic dimensions of motion. I argue that Bishop shares Herbert’s and Donne’s familiarity with St. Ignatius, demonstrating her reading of The Spiritual Exercises through her poem “The Weed.”

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