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Letter: All details in book are derived from sources

All details in book are derived from sources

I’m writing in regard to William L. Morris’ thoughtful review of my new biography, “Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast.” In praising the novelistic aspects of my nonfiction book, which I am glad to have recognized, Morris inadvertently suggested that I “added details” to the narrative that could not be documented and had strayed into fiction. In fact, all details in the book are derived from published and unpublished sources or interviews.

[BOOK REVIEW: A poet determined to be 'sane to the bitter end']

It is conventional for literary biographies to limit documentation to quotations in the text, which I did in lengthy endnotes; these endnotes also provide source material on incidents that might seem controversial to Bishop scholars and devotees. However, it is not possible to document every detail drawn from the documentary record (color of clothes or hair, features of the landscape, etc.) in such a book. I invite readers with any questions about sources to contact me via my website

Megan Marshall

Belmont, Mass.

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