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Robert Lowell (1917-77)
In my Father's bedroom:
blue threads as thin
as pen-writing on the bedspread,
blue dots on the curtains,
a blue kimono,
Chinese sandals with blue plush straps.
The broad-planked floor
had a sandpapered neatness.
The clear glass bed-lamp
with a white doily shade
was still raised a few
inches by resting on volume two
of Lafcadio Hearn's
Glimpses of unfamiliar Japan.
Its warped olive cover
was punished like a rhinoceros hide.
In the flyleaf:
'Robbie from Mother.'
Years later in the same hand:
'This book has had hard usage
On the Yangtze River, China.
It was left under an open
porthole in a storm.'
[(from Life Studies) Selected Poems]
Copyright (c) 1965 Faber and Faber
- Born: Mar. 1, 1917, Boston
- Died: Sept. 12, 1977 (from a heart attack)
- Full Name: Robert Traill Spence Lowell, Jr.
- Married: Jean Stafford (fiction-writer, divorced in 1948); Elizabeth Hardwick (writer).
- Education: Harvard University, Kenyon College (undergraduate degree in classics)
- Influenced by: Elizabeth Drew's Discovering Poetry (1933)
- Roman Catholicism: An interest in it "dominates his earlier volumes Land of Unlikeness (1944), Lord Weary's Castle (1946), and The Mills of the Kavanaughs (1951)." (Jerome Mazzaro) Converted to Catholicism (1940).
- Awards: Pulitzer Prize with Lord Weary's Castle (1946); Pulitzer Prize with The Dolphin
- Works: Land of Unlikeness (1944), Lord Weary's Castle (1946), The Mills of the Kavanaughs (1951), Life Studies (1959), The Old Glory (1965) [a trilogy of plays], For the Union Dead (1964), Near the Ocean (1967), Notebook 1967-68 (1969) [later extended into History, For Lizzie and Harriet and The Dolphin (1973)], and Day by Day (1977).
I've compiled the above information referring to some standard reference materials, including The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-century Poetry, Grolier Encyclopedia, etc.
- Axelrod, Steven G., Robert Lowell: Life and Art (1978)
- Axelrod, Steven G. and Deese, Helen, eds., Robert Lowell: Essays on the Poetry (1987)
- Bell, Vereen M., Robert Lowell: Nihilist as Hero (1982)
- Fein, Richard J., Robert Lowell (1970)
- Giroux, Robert, Collected Prose (1987)
- Hamilton, Ian, Robert Lowell: A Biography (1983)
- Kalstone, David, Becoming a Poet: Elizabeth Bishop with Marianne Moore and Robert Lowell (1990)
- Lowell, Robert, Poems 1938-49 (1950)
- Lowell, Robert, Selected Poems (1977)
- Mazzaro, Jerome, The Poetic Themes of Robert Lowell (1965)
- Meiners, Roger, Everything to Be Endured: An Essay on Robert Lowell and Modern Poetry (1970)
- Meyers, Jeffrey, ed., Robert Lowell: Interviews and Memoirs (1988)
- Parkinson, Thomas, ed., Robert Lowell: A Collection of Critical Essays (1968)
- Staples, Hugh B., Robert Lowell: The First Twenty Years (1962)
- Williamson, Alan, Pity the Monsters (1974)
- Yenser, Stephen, Circle to Circle: The Poetry of Robert Lowerll (1975)
Last updated: 5 December 2001
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