In the poem "One Art," Elizabeth Bishop expresses two different views on the "art of losing." Bishop's first view on loss is that loss is an everyday occurrence, something to "accept." Her second view is that a loss can affect someone very deeply. Bishop utilizes verse form and language to fully develop these two different view points. In the first five stanzas of the poem, Bishop's view of loss is whimsical. In the first stanza Bishop states that "many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster." With this statement, Bishop means that losing something is fundamental and is bound to happen no matter what we do.
Also, Bishop insinuates that when we do lose something, we shouldn't take it as a surprise, or a "disaster;" we were going to lose it anyway. In the second stanza, Bishop tells us to "accept" lost things because losing things will not bring about disaster. In the last stanza, Bishop's attitude towards loss changes. Her view on loss is no longer whimsical, but she expresses the idea that a loss can affect someone very deeply. To illustrate this point, she uses a personal example of a loved one lost.
In this stanza, Bishop employs the repetition of a line with slight variation, which also demonstrates a change in her view. Furthermore, in this stanza, instead of stating that loss "will bring [no] disaster," or that "loss is no disaster," Bishop expresses that loss may "look like... disaster." This further signifies her change in opinion about loss. Through out the poem, Bishop's attitude about "the art of losing" shifts from loss being "no disaster," to the thought that loss has a definite impact on a person.
In the first half of the poem, Bishop utilizes the loss of material, replaceable things to illustrate that loss happens everyday and should be easy to "accept." In the last stanza, however, Bishops wields the example of a lost loved one, and irreplaceable loss, which illustrates the fact that losing can affect someone very deeply. Bishop tries to convince herself in the first five stanzas of the poem that loss does not matter and is an every day occurrence. In the last stanza the reason behind her earlier arguments becomes apparent; Bishop is trying to convince herself that the loss of a loved one should not be painful, as "los[s] isn't hard to master." This explains the reasons behind Bishop's change in attitude about loss, from loss being unimportant to loss having a direct affect on a person's life.