Robert Lowell Poems

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Robert Lowell
Robert Lowell (March 1, 1917–September 12, 1977), born Robert Traill Spence Lowell, IV, was an American poet whose works, confessional in nature, engaged with the questions of history and probed the dark recesses of the self. He is generally considered to be among the greatest American poets of the twentieth century. Robert Lowell was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a Boston Brahmin family that included the poets Amy Lowell and James Russell Lowell. His mother, Charlotte Winslow, was a direct descendant of William Samuel Johnson, a signer of the United States Constitution, Jonathan Edwards, the famed philosopher, Anne Hutchinson, the Puritan preacher and healer, Robert Livingston the Elder, Thomas Dudley, the second governor of Massachusetts, and Mayflower passengers James Chilton and his daughter Mary Chilton. He attended Harvard College but transferred to Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, to study under John Crowe Ransom. He was a Roman Catholic from 1940 to 1946, which influenced his first two books, Land of Unlikeness (1944) and the Pulitzer Prize winning Lord Weary's Castle (1946). In 1950, Lowell was included in the influential anthology Mid-Century American Poets as one of the key literary figures of his generation. Among his contemporaries who also appeared in that book were Muriel Rukeyser, Karl Shapiro, Elizabeth Bishop, Theodore Roethke, Randall Jarrell, and John Ciardi, all poets who came into prominence in the 1940s. Lowell was a conscientious objector during World War II and served several months at the federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. He was married to novelist Jean Stafford from 1940 to 1948. In 1949 he married the writer Elizabeth Hardwick. Lowell was hospitalized approximately twenty times for a bipolar disorder that had been diagnosed at one point as "acute schizophrenia" and was later identified as "manic depression." He was treated with Thorazine through most of the 1950s and 1960s until it was shown to be ineffective, and in 1967, he began taking lithium, which, with psychiatric therapy sessions added, gradually enabled him to achieve a measure of peace, although he was never entirely free of the symptoms that caused erratic behavior all through his life. In 1970 he left Elizabeth Hardwick for the British author, Lady Caroline Blackwood. He spent many of his last years in England. Lowell died in 1977, suffering a heart attack in a cab in New York City, and is buried in Stark Cemetery, Dunbarton, New Hampshire. Lowell's collected poems were published in 2003 and his letters in 2005, leading to a renewed interest in his work.

for the union dead
"Relinquunt Omnia Servare Rem Publicam."

The old South Boston Aquarium stands
in a S... [read poem]
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