|Amy Lawrence Lowell|
February 9, 1874|
|Died||May 12, 1925(aged 51)|
|Notable award(s)||Pulitzer Prize in Poetry|
Lowell was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, into Brookline's prominent Lowell family, sister to astronomer Percival Lowell and Harvard University president Abbott Lawrence Lowell. Fireside poet James Russell Lowell was her first cousin.
She never attended college because her family did not consider that proper for a woman, but she compensated with avid reading and near-obsessive book-collecting. She lived as a socialite and travelled widely, turning to poetry in 1902 after being inspired by a performance of Eleonora Duse in Europe.
Lowell was said to be lesbian, and in 1912 she and actress Ada Dwyer Russell were reputed to be lovers. Russell is reputed to be the subject of her more erotic work, most notably the love poems contained in 'Two Speak Together', a subsection of Pictures of the Floating World. The two women traveled to England together, where Lowell met Ezra Pound, who at once became a major influence and a major critic of her work. Lowell has been linked romantically to writer Mercedes de Acosta, but the only evidence of any contact between them is a brief correspondence about a planned memorial for Duse.
Lowell died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1925 at the age of 51.
Lowell's first published work appeared in 1910 in Atlantic Monthly. The first published collection of her poetry, A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass, appeared two years later in 1912.
Though she sometimes wrote sonnets, Lowell was an early adherent to the "free verse" method of poetry and one of the major champions of this method. Untermeyer writes that "She was not only a disturber but an awakener." In many poems she dispenses with line breaks so that the work looks like prose on the page. This technique she labeled "polyphonic prose".
Throughout her working life Lowell was a promoter of both contemporary and historical poets. Her book Fir-Flower Poets was a poetical re-working of literal translations of the works of ancient Chinese poets, notably Li Tai-po (701-762). Her writing also included critical works on French literature. When she died she was attempting to complete her two-volume biography of John Keats. Writing of Keats, Lowell said that "The stigma of oddness is the price a myopic world always exacts of genius."
Lowell was a short but imposing figure who kept her hair in a bun and wore a pince-nez. She smoked cigars constantly, claiming that they lasted longer than cigarettes. A glandular problem kept her perpetually overweight, so that poet Witter Bynner once said, in a cruel comment repeated by Ezra Pound and thereafter commonly misattributed to him, that she was a "hippopoetess."
Lowell not only published her own work but also that of other writers. According to Untermyer, she "captured" the Imagist movement from Ezra Pound. Pound threatened to sue her for bringing out her three-volume series Some Imagist Poets, and thereafter called the American Imagists the "Amygist" movement. Pound criticized her as not an imagist but merely a rich woman who was able to financially assist the publication of imagist poetry. She said that Imagism was weak before she took it up, whereas others said it became weak after Pound's "exile" towards Vorticism.
Altercation with F. Holland Day Edit
Lowell was frustrated in composing her biography of Keats by the famous publisher and photographer, F. Holland Day. Day, alongside an unrivaled possession of Keatsiana, possessed exclusive copies of Fanny Brawne's letters to Keats. Fanny was the woman whom Keats had unsuccessfully pursued and the letters were therefore of considerable biographical interest. Lowell, who hoped to publish the definitive volume of biography, was forced to pursue a reluctant and rather mischievously reticent Day for these artifacts with little success.
In 1926, the year after her death, Lowell was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for What's O'Clock.
In the post-World War II years, Lowell (like many other women writers) was largely forgotten, but with the renaissance of the women's movement in the 1970s, women's studies brought her back to light. According to Heywood Broun, however, Lowell personally argued against feminism.
Additional sources of interest in Lowell today come from the anti-war sentiment of the oft-taught poem "Patterns"; her personification of inanimate objects, as in "The Green Bowl," and "The Red Lacquer Music Stand"; and her lesbian themes, including the love poems addressed to Ada Dwyer Russell in "Two Speak Together" and her poem "The Sisters" which addresses her female poetic predecessors.
- A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1912.
- Sword Blades and Poppy Seed. New York: Macmillan, 1914; New York: AMS Press, 1981.
- Men, Women and Ghosts. New York: Macmillan, 1916.
- Can Grande's Castle. New York: Macmillan, 1919.
- Pictures of the Floating World. New York: Macmillan, 1919.
- Legends. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1921.
- A Critical Fable. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1921.
- What's O'Clock, edited by Ada Dwyer Russell, Houghton Mifflin, 1925.
- East Wind. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1926.
- Ballads for Sale. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1927.
- The Complete Poetical Works. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1925.
- (with introduction by Louis Untermeyer). Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin / Cambridge, MA: Riverside Press, 1955.
- Selected Poems (edited by John Livingston Lowes). Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1928.
- Selected Poems (edited by Melissa Bradshaw & Adrienne Munich). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2002.
- Six French Poets: Studies in contemporary literature. New York: Macmillan, 1915; Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1967.
- Tendencies in Modern American Poetry. New York: Macmillan, 1917; New York: Haskell House, 1970.
- John Keats. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1925; Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1969. Volume I, Volume II.
- The Madonna of Carthagena. privately printed, 1927.
- Poetry and Poets: Essays (edited by Ferris Greenslet). Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1930; New York: Biblo and Tannen, 1971.
- Complete Poetical Works, and selected writings (edited by Naoki Ohnishi). (6 volumes), Kyoto, Japan: Eureka Press.
- Fir-Flower Tablets: Poems translated from the Chinese (translated by Florence Ayscough; English versions by Lowell). Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1921.
- Some Imagist Poets: An anthology. Houghton, Mifflin, 1915.
- Some Imagist Poets, 1916: An annual anthology. Houghton, Mifflin, 1916.
- Some Imagist Poets, 1917: An annual anthology. Houghton Mifflin Company, year=1917. isbn=1419148044
- The letters of D.H. Lawrence & Amy Lowell, 1914-1925 (edited by E. Claire Healey & Keith Cushman). Black Sparrow, 1985.
Poems by Amy LowellEdit
- Amy Lowell, American Modern: Critical essays (edited by Adrienne Munich & Melissa Bradshaw). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2004.
- "Outselling the Modernisms of Men: Amy Lowell and the art of self-commodification," Victorian Poetry 38:1 (Spring 2000), 141-169. ]
- ↑ Alan Shucard, Fred Moramarco, William Sullivan (1990). Modern American poetry, 1865-1950. University of Massachusetts Press. p. 77. ISBN 9780870237201. http://books.google.com/?id=N0AtxcoLkC8C&pg=PA77&lpg=PA77&dq=Untermeyer+She+was+not+only+a+disturber+but+an+awakener.
- ↑ Michel Delville (1998). The American prose poem. University Press of Florida. p. 6. ISBN 9780813015910. http://books.google.com/?id=rmGBWk1iGzwC&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6&dq=lowell+polyphonic+prose.
- ↑ Amy Lowell (1925). John Keats. II. HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY. p. 152. http://www.archive.org/stream/johnkeatsvolumei009666mbp/johnkeatsvolumei009666mbp_djvu.txt.
- ↑ Adrienne Munich, Melissa Bradshaw (2004). Amy Lowell, American modern. Rutgers University Press. p. 171. ISBN 9780813533568. http://books.google.com/?id=u5AXdTOuGy4C&pg=PA171&lpg=PA171&dq=%22hippopoetess.%22+Witter+Bynner.
- ↑ Sonja Samberger (2005). Artistic outlaws. Berlin-Hamburg-MÃ¼nster: LIT Verlag. pp. 43-44. ISBN 9783825886165. http://books.google.com/?id=DKNJtTw8V5sC&pg=PA43&lpg=PA43&dq=Heywood+Broun++Lowell+feminism..
- ↑ "Amy Lowell," Poetry Foundation, Web, June 29, 2011.
- 8 poems by Lowell: "May Evening in Central Park," "Late September," "Wind and Silver," "Solitaire," "September 1918," "July Midnight," "A Decade," "Free Fantasia on Japanese Themes"
- Amy Lowell in The New Poetry: An anthology: "Patterns," "1777," "Venus Transiens," "A Lady," "Reflections," "Falling Snow," "Hoar-Frost," "Solitaire," "A Gift," "Red Slippers," "Apology"
- Amy Lowell profile & 18 poems at the Academy of American Poets.
- Amy Lowell 1874-1925 at the Poetry Foundation.
- Additional Poems by Amy Lowell.
- Lowell in Poetry: A magazine of verse, 1912-1922: "Apology," "A Blockhead," "The Cyclists," "The Foreigner," "A Lady," "Music," "The Bungler," "Anticipation," "A Gift," "The Forsaken," "The Coal Picker," "The Bombardment," "Venus Transiens," "Solitaire," "Red Slippers," "Lead Soldiers," "Vernal Equinox," "Fenway Park," "May Evening in Central Park," "Aliens," "Strain," "The Painter on Silk," "Pyrotechnics," "1777," "Streets," "Desolation," "Sunshine," "Illusion," "A Year Passes," "A Lover," "To a Husband," "From China," "Autumn" (1917), "Ephemera," "Document," "The Emperor's Garden," "One of the 'Hundred Views of Fuji' by Hokusai," "Disillusion," "Paper Fishes," "Meditation," "The Camellia Tree of Matsue," "The Landlady of the Whinton Inn Tells a Story," "Appuldurcombe Park," "The Bookshop," "Peach-color to a Soap-bubble," "The Artist," "Autumn" (1919), "Balls," "Good Gracious!," "The Day That Was That Day," "Twenty-four Hokku on a Modern Theme," "Charleston, South Carolina," "The Middleton Place," "Magnolia Gardens," "A South Carolina Forest," "The Vow"
- Translations by Florence Ayscough & Lowell in Poetry: A magazine of verse, 1912-1922: "An Evening Meeting" by Li Hai-Ku, "The Emperor's Return from a Journey to the South" by Wen Cheng-ming, "On Seeing the Portrait of a Beautiful Concubine" by Ch’en Hung-Shou, "Calligraphy" by Liang T’ung-shu, "The Palace Blossoms" by T’ai Ta-mien, "One Goes a Journey" by Liu Shih-an, "From the Straw Hut among the Seven Peaks" by Lu Kun, "On the Classic of the Hills and Sea" by T’ao Ch’ien, "A Recluse" by Wang Chang-ling, "After How Many Years" by Li Hai-Ku, "The Inn at the Western Lake" by Wang Ching-seng.
- Amy Lowell at PoemHunter (193 poems)
- Audio / video
- Works by Amy Lowell at Project Gutenberg
- Works by Amy Lowell at Internet Archive
- amy Lowell at Amazon.com
- Amy Lowell in the Encyclopædia Britannica
- Amy Lowell at NNDB.
- Amy Lowell (1874-1925) at Modern American Poetry.
- "How Does the New Poetry Differ from the Old?; Amy Lowell Laments the Lack of Authoritative Criticism in America -- Says No One Should Make a Living by Writing" New York Times
- Carl Rollyson, Amy Lowell Among Her Contemporaries.
- "John Keats and Amy Lowell" (review of Lowell's John Keats), Virginia Quarterly Review
- Amy Lowell: A critical appreciation by W. Bryher
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