, Baní, Prov. Peravia. República Dominicana.
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The Sable Island trip occurred just a few months before she embarked on a sea voyage around the world — an archetypal journey — which, however, ended prematurely and turned into instead a nearly 20-year stay in Brazil. It can be argued that, among many other complex factors, one of the reasons why she remained in Brazil was because she felt at home. Brazil and the life she could lead there reminded her of Nova Scotia — the Nova Scotia of her childhood. It was the first real home she had known since her childhood. Many years later, she stated her own conclusion about this experience in a letter to Robert Lowell: “What I am really up to is re-creating a sort of de luxe Nova Scotia all over again, in Brazil. And now I’m my own grandmother” (Words in Air 676). For most of her time in Brazil she lived with her companion Lota de Macedo Soares. The depth of their love and the devastation of the loss when Lota committed suicide in 1967 resonate powerfully in Bishop’s late work. There were many women in Bishop’s life but only one other woman was as important to her as Lota — her mother.
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introduces facets of Bishop’s life through some of the houses where Bishop lived, featuring three of her most loved homes filmed on location in Brazil and the USA. Tracing Bishop’s relationships through these homes—in Key West with Louise Crane, in Samambaia with Lota Macedo Soares, and finally on her own at Ouro Preto—is part of a larger investigation for Hammer. Making women’s intimate lives visible has been an on-going focus for Hammer, and especially queer relationships where women’s intimacy has been historically erased, dismissed, minimized, or just completely sanitized. Bishop’s queerness was always an open secret, thoroughly steeped in poetic candor and uncompromising strides.