Elizabeth Bishop House’s new owner sees it as 'sacred'

Lynn Curwin webcomments@ngnews.ca
Published on June 22, 2016
bishop house

Published on 22 June 2016

<p>Catherine MacLean now owns the Elizabeth Bishop House. Her sister and brother-in-law are currently living in the house.</p>

Photos by Lynn Curwin/Truro Daily News

bishop house

Published on 22 June 2016

The bedroom where Elizabeth Bishop slept.

Photos by Lynn Curwin/Truro Daily News

bishop house

Published on 22 June 2016

The back of the Bishop house.

Photos by Lynn Curwin - Truro Daily News

bishop house

Published on 22 June 2016

The den at the Bishop house.

Photos by Lynn Curwin/Truro Daily News

bishop house

Published on 22 June 2016

Elizabeth Bishop House dining room.

Photos by Lynn Curwin/Truro Daily News

bishop house

Published on 22 June 2016

<p>A pump organ remains in the front room of Elizabeth Bishop House. The paintings above it were created and left by artists who stayed there.</p>

Photos by Lynn Curwin/Truro Daily News

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Published on 22 June 2016

<p>Elizabeth Bishop relaxes with a feline friend.</p>

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Published on 22 June 2016

Furniture in the Elizabeth Bishop House.

Photos by Lynn Curwin/Truro Daily News

bishop house

Published on 22 June 2016

<p>Elizabeth Bishop believed her grandparents’ house had been a wayside inn that her grandfather bought and moved to Great Village.</p>

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bishop house

Published on 22 June 2016

<p>This picture of Elizabeth Bishop as a girl currently hangs in the house.</p>

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bishop house

Published on 22 June 2016

The stairway at the Elizabeth Bishop House.

Photos by Lynn Curwin/Truro Daily News

bishop house

Published on 22 June 2016

<p>A small weather-worn shed stands behind the Elizabeth Bishop House.</p>

Photos by Lynn Curwin/Truro Daily News

GREAT VILLAGE, NS – Catherine MacLean senses something special when she walks through the Great Village house she bought last December.

She’s the newest owner of the Elizabeth Bishop House.

“It has such a nice feeling in it, I can see why Elizabeth Bishop said it was the nicest house in the world,” said MacLean. 

“When we saw it was for sale my husband wanted to buy it right away. After a few years it was still for sale and I was concerned something could happen to it so I agreed.”

Poet Elizabeth Bishop was born in Massachusetts but often visited her grandparents in Great Village and lived there for awhile after her father’s death.

The house was designated a Provincial Heritage Property in 1997 and in 2004 a group of Canadian and American fans of Bishop bought the building and often had an artist in residence.

“I think the Elizabeth Bishop Society and the group that owned the house have done a fantastic job,” said MacLean. “They marked it as being a place of world interest.”

MacLean, a visual artist, lives in the Halifax area. Her sister and brother-in-law are currently residing in Elizabeth Bishop House and are willing to show the place to visitors. The walls still hold memorabilia and the library is filled with books.

“I’m a big fan of hers,” said MacLean. “I love poetry and so much of her work is specific to Great Village and that area. Her happiest places were Nova Scotia and South America. She really is a remarkable writer and her star is just rising.

“Houses like this are spiritual places for many. It’s where the artist dreamed. I see these places as sacred.”

MacLean will be meeting with members of the Elizabeth Bishop Society to discuss ways to keep the house accessible to the public.

lynn.curwin@tc.tc

Elizabeth Bishop

1911 – 1979

– Her father died when she was eight months old.

– When she was five she witnessed her mother’s breakdown. Her mother voluntarily entered the Nova Scotia Hospital and remained there until she died, 18 years later.

– Her first book, North & South, was published in 1946.

– In 1956 she won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

– Many of her poems are set in Nova Scotia.

– Bishop spent about 15 years living in Brazil with Carlota (Lota) Costallat de Macedo Soares, an architect. A movie, ‘Reaching for the Moon’, was made and a book ‘The More I Owe You,’ was written about them.

– She died of a cerebral aneurysm.