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Voices & Visions

Robert Lowell

Lowell's political passion encompasses much of his greatest poetry. Lowell himself reads from his work. Elizabeth Hardwick, Robert Hass, and others discuss his development and style as illustrated by "Lord Weary's Castle" and "Life Studies."

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Considered the leading poet of his generation, Robert Lowell in his early work examined history — employing the past to make commentaries on the present. In the 1950s, the poet began to merge public with personal history. Following the lead of the so-called confessional poets, his own style shifted from densely textured formalism to the more open structures and autobiographical subject matter that would characterize a great deal of American poetry to the present day.

Additional Resources

Academy of American Poets

Walk among the “trees with Latin labels” as Lowell reads “The Public Garden” at the Academy of American Poets’ Lowell page. More than a dozen other Lowell poems, the excellent essay/exhibit “Life Studies: American Poetry from T. S. Eliot to Allen Ginsberg,” a biography, and a selected bibliography further enrich the site.

Robert Lowell Papers

“I was a small electric doll…” Such an enticing excerpt makes one want to probe the University of Texas at Austin’s entire collection of Lowell’s papers to gain more insight into the poet and his work. The materials, mainly Lowell’s working papers from 1970-1977, are maintained by the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.

Kobe University: Robert Lowell

You’ll find “Chinese sandals with blue plush straps” in “Father’s Bedroom,” a Lowell poem highlighted at Associate Professor Michael Eiichi Hishikawa’s Lowell site. The site also features biographical notes and a bibliography.

James Russell Lowell

Join the search for the Holy Grail while learning about Lowell’s great-great-uncle. James Russell Lowell’s poem “The Vision of Sir Launfal” is a “democratization of the Grail story.” The poem, along with comments about it and its author, are part of the University of Rochester’s stunning Camelot Project.

Pulitzer Prize Timeline

Lowell’s Lord Weary’s Castle won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1947. Find out who else won Pulitzers that year and which Voices and Visions poets won Pulitzer Prizes in 1924, 1931, 1937, and 1943 at this site, sponsored by the Columbia Journalism Review.