Merav Opher reads “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop (Favorite Poem Project)

Merav Opher reads “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop (Favorite Poem Project)


I was born in Israel, grew up in Israel, until
the age of 8 to 9, from American parents that only spoke Hebrew at home. And then when we moved to Brazil, there were
some Israelis in Sao Paulo but not many, so it was kind of funny growing up. They have a beautiful newspaper there called
Folha de Sao Paulo. So I see this poem, I have no idea who is
Elizabeth Bishop. I think they had just put “One Art” and translated
to Portugese. And I read it and I was like blown away. Kind of like really raw, boom wow this is
amazing. I had no idea that she visited Brazil, that
she had a Brazilian lover I have no idea. But at that point I was like “I need to
figure out everything about Bishop.” What I liked in Bishop, she write a poetry
that sound at the first glance very accessible, very friendly. But then there is underneath a gush of emotions
and a drama that doesn’t come to the surface, and I like the tension because you can really
feel it. So I’m going to read “One Art” by Elizabeth
Bishop. The art of losing isn’t hard to master; so
many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster. Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the
hour badly spent. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. Then practice losing farther, losing faster;
faces, and names, and where it was you meant to travel. None of these will bring disaster. I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or next-to-last, of three
loved houses went. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster, some realms I owned, two rivers,
a continent. I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster. Even losing you, the joking voice, a gesture
I love, I shan’t have lied. It’s evident the art of losing’s not too hard
to master. Though it may look like, write it, like disaster. The theme that she touches in almost all her
poems, and especially the late ones, that what is home? Especially with an immigrant, you carry this
melancholy, in Portuguese we say “saudades” that this longing, this long longing for home,
and where is home? When we left Israel I think I had this sense
of maybe I’m going to lose something, or maybe this big transition so as, this was
when I was eight in Israel I put together kind of, this was an album of pictures. I carried it from Haifa when we left, you
can see 78 is when we came to Brazil, this is us in Israel, this was my best friend Aya. This is me holding a snake, not super happy
but holding a snake, terrified. But this is when we just arrived to Brazil. I had it and I kept it as kind of like a token
but I have memories here. So these are things that maybe Bishop said
that some objects that have the meaning of being lost, I didn’t want this one to be lost. I think for every immigrant it’s really tough
when you live with two suitcases that kind of it’s very in my head was like “can my
life fit in two suitcases?” So you carry that. And I think this “One Art” when she talks
about teach yourself to lose things, and she talks about things very heavy to lose. She teach you almost like a lullaby, accept
the fluster of losing things every day. And I think definitely anybody that come from
different cultures have to teach themselves in a very lullaby-ish way that this is a part
of life and you lose and you carry this loss and you go on. And you just carry this with you, yeah.

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