Mary Graham


Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)
Harvard Vocarium Sound Recording
(Cambridge, Mass., 1947)

This lacquer disc containing a direct recording of Elizabeth Bishop reading her famous poem “The Fish” is, like many discs in the Frederick C. Packard, Jr. Collection, sparsely labeled, with an economy of language the poet herself might have appreciated: BEST FISH. Yet it was these two simple words that alerted us to the possibility of what we like to call the “lesser fishes,” and indeed to the many rare outtakes (by T. S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, and Ezra Pound, among others) recorded by Professor Packard as part of his pioneering effort to create “a library of voices” here at Harvard.

MS Am 3065, Woodberry Poetry Room, deposit