|Time Traveler in front of Eliz Bishop's|
Ouro Preto home on her 103rd birthday,
February 8, 2014. Photo by ATMarlin.
- In 2012, I bemoaned the run-down state of her one-time home in Key West, which she purchased with Louise Crane.
- In 2013, I noted someone's concern that her former home in Ouro Preto, Brazil was also neglected.
- This year I find myself in Brazil and I have checked out the homes in which Bishop lived with her Brazilian lover.
|546 Mariana Road, leading from|
Ouro Preto. One of Bishop's homes in
1960-70. This photo, and any others not
attributed, by JTMarlin.
This Ouro Preto house is in a beautiful location. However, it is not being kept up and does not have the status either of a public monument or a well-cared-for private property.
It is owned by Linda Nemer, who is described by her friend Affonso Romano de Sant'Anna as a “lovely woman”.
However, she is nearly 83 and unfortunately not in good health. She is herself concerned about her ability to care for the house and ensure its future.
|Plaque in Portuguese on Bishop's home|
in Ouro Preto. Photo by JTMarlin.
Nemer asked the Ford Foundation about taking over Casa Mariana but nothing seems to have come of this request. Nemer met Bishop in 1969, through her brother, the painter José Alberto Nemer. José Alberto introduced the two of them and asked his sister to help Bishop, who was passing through an alcohol-related crisis.
For the next ten years, until Bishop's death in 1979, the Nemer family helped take care of Bishop. José Alberto was also an artistic adviser to Zuleika Borges Torrealba, who later purchased Bishop's home in Petropolis (and has kept it up beautifully, as I will show in a later post).
|Looking up the road to Bishop's |
Ouro Preto home.
I met Elizabeth in Rio in the 70s–she was going to give a course in creative writing at Harvard, and called me at the Hotel Gloria (or was it New World?). She gave me several books of American authors she had read and wanted to pass on to me.Carmen Lucia Oliveira wrote a book about Elizabeth Bishop's Brazil years with Lota de Macedo Soares. Her book was translated by Neil Besner, a Canadian who grew up in Brazil.
|View of Bishop's home from the road.|
To find the Bishop house on the Mariana Road, one exits one side of the Museum of the Inconfidencia in the main square of Ouro Preto. It's a short walk and an even shorter drive.
|Hotel Solar das Lajes.|
One place in Ouro Preto where Bishop used to hang out with de Macedo Soares is Pouso do Chico Rei, which used to be run by Bishop's friend Lilli Correia de Araujo, a widowed Danish innkeeper, who died six years ago.
The pousada is now being run by Lilli's grandson. Room #8, where Bishop stayed when her house was being renovated, is called the Elizabeth Bishop room. Visitors to the pousada who have posted on TripAdvisor praise its historical associations but some have concerns about maintenance.
|Common room of Pouso do Chico Rei. Alice Tepper|
Marlin and Caroline Tepper-Marlin are checking it out.
The Bishop house is closed. The pousada is open to the public, but it is a matter of luck for a visitor to find someone there to show one around.
|In front of pousada. Photo|
by Alice Tepper Marlin.
Most important, the future of both Bishop's house and the pousada are uncertain.
Is there an institution that could be a clearinghouse for those who are interested in the future of Elizabeth Bishop's residences? The Poetry Foundation?
|View of the Ouro Preto valley from Mariana Road.|