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English Department Class of 60’s event, open to all

Wed, October 21st, 2020
7:00 pm
- 9:00 pm

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2020 has been a year of losses — of life, foremost, but also loss of contact, loss of the routines that shape our days. Please join us this Monday at 7:00 p.m. for “The Art of Losing,” a Zoom event in which English Department faculty members Bethany Hicok, Rowan Phillips and Emily Vasiliauskas explore their professional and personal relations to literature in this moment of dislocation and grief. Short presentations will be followed by a conversation among the panelists that will include questions and comments from listeners. Refreshments, alas, will not be served.


We invite you to read Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art,” from which we’ve borrowed the title of our event, in advance:

One Art


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:
places, 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.

Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art” from The Complete Poems 1926-1979. Copyright © 1979, 1983 by Alice Helen Methfessel. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Bethany Hicok is Lecturer in English, Williams College; Author of Elizabeth Bishop’s Brazil and Degrees of Freedom: American Women Poets and the Women’s College, 1905-1955; Editor of Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive; and co-editor of Elizabeth Bishop in the 21st Century: Reading the New Editions; Recipient of a 2017 NEH grant to lead a summer seminar for college and university professors on Elizabeth Bishop and the Archive at Vassar College.

Rowan Ricardo Phillips is a multi-award-winning poet, author, screenwriter, academic, translator, and journalist. His writing appears in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and other national and international publications. Rowan Ricardo Phillips has been awarded the Nicolás Guillén Outstanding Book Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sportswriting, the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, a Whiting Award, and the GLCA New Writers Award.

Emily Vasiliauskas is an Assistant Professor of English at Williams College who works on early modern literature and culture. Her writing has been published in ELH, Studies in Philology, The Cambridge Quarterly, and other venues. Her book manuscript, The Skull in the Mirror: Aesthetics in the Age of Shakespeare, is under review at Oxford University Press.

Sponsored by the Class of 1960s Scholars Fund and the English Department.

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