Born in the forties in New York City, this world traveler once taught for the Peace Corps and even did some midwifery! She has a colorful background as an Author, Performance Poet and Visionary Artist. Find out what brought her to Sedona and how, like Ilchi Lee, the Call of Sedona keeps her coming back.

Elizabeth Martina Bishop

LT: Elizabeth, you are a prolific Sedona writer! Please tell us about your career as a poet.

EMB: My writing career really doesn’t exist; it’s just something I like to do as kind of a retirement hobby. I did fifty books in the last two or three years. I think it started in the bookstore in Boulder, Colorado, because when I was working there I had a room where I did readings for people. In between the readings, I began to write a lot of poetry, because it’s sort of like ‘what you put out comes back.’

And so I began writing short stories and poetry there, and it just kind of grew. With the degree I have now it’s kind of not so easy to be a poet. Because there’s a lot of research and a lot of discipline, and a disciplined organizational kind of writing that isn’t so poetic. But I found it to be a good balance for my writing. So I continued writing even though I’m doing a doctorate now, “Women and Spirituality.” It’s a very, very disciplined degree with lots and lots of cerebral and mental logistics that are involved. But I still write every chance I get, poetry and so on!

Elizabeth Martina Bishop books

LT: What brought you to Sedona?

EMB: I was teaching on the reservation for fourteen years and one day my car broke down. This is maybe twenty years ago; I used to come for the weekend from the reservation. My daughter had music lessons here so I came every weekend for seven years. Then one year, the car broke down. It’s the classic Sedona story: My car broke down in Sedona and I couldn’t leave for three days because I had to wait over the weekend to get the car parts. Nothing really happened, I just had more experience of Sedona than just a quick turnaround, and I knew I liked it.

LT: So, down the road you relocated to Sedona?

EMB: I was in Boulder and I decided that I wanted to get a second doctorate. California is closer to Sedona than Boulder; I started going back and forth from Sedona to San Francisco over the last 6 years. During that time I acquired my third MFA degree in writing, and I’m closing in on my second doctorate. I guess it will be 1-2 years more; I’ve almost completed all the course work.

LT: When did you actually move to Sedona?

EMB: Again, did I really move? Because I’ve been back and forth from San Francisco, and I took a year out in San Francisco, but on and off I was here for the last 6 years. I found going back and forth a little difficult, so I decided to do online education, and that way I could live here. I didn’t plan on it, no, it just sort of evolved. I had been working in a metaphysical bookstore in Boulder for 5 years, and I’d gotten out of the loop; you know I’d been a professor for many years. I got into retail, and I thought with computerized education, I should get back into it. And that’s how it kind of happened. I remember I was actually in Sedona when I was accepted into Naropa University in Boulder. I suppose there are a lot of synchronicities that occur here . . .

LT: Is there a common theme that runs through your work?

EMB: I don’t know that I have a theme. I just write about everyday life, you know; things that happen, little events. It’s just very kind of mundane. Little things that happen and I try to turn it into a poem. I don’t think I have a big message or a big theme, but I just like kind of turning what happens in life into something imaginative or interesting or educational.

LT: I would say that in itself is a pretty good “theme,” because we often overlook those little mundane things that make up the days of our lives.

EMB: Yes, you know, little mundane things are the things that turn into poems for me. And one of my teachers that I had, Jack Meyers used to say that he saw his life come into balance because he was a poet. Like when he was working on a problem he could write a poem and then somehow, transmute the energy so that life made more sense. And I think that I agree with that statement: poetry does make life make more sense.

Elizabeth Martina Bishop books

LT: What projects are you currently working on?

EMB: I’m working on a book, a calendar of A Poem a Day for a year, which will be ready in the next month. I usually try to do two books a month. I self-publish. I originally didn’t self-publish; I was published by St. Martin’s Press in 1976 and it was a bestselling book on Ireland. So, after that I didn’t feel I had to prove something. I mean it would be nice, to publish regularly with them, but I’m quite happy self-publishing (Roadrunner Products), and I sell my books at fairs, and so on. The books are also available at Sedona Healing Arts, at Amazon, and on my website at http://elizabethmartinabishop.com/

LT: Please share your thoughts on how Sedona may have influenced your work over the years.

EMB: I think I can say that Sedona is a very healing and inspiring location for artists, I think traditionally that’s been so. I don’t think there is any other place like it. Sedona jump-starts a lot of artists and causes you to want to create more and better work.

LT: Thank You, Elizabeth!

By Lynn A. Trombetta