Robert Lowell

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Robert Lowell

Robert Traill Spence Lowell IV (Boston, March 1, 1917-New York, September 12, 1977) was an American poet. He was born in a family belonging to the Boston Brahmin from which the origins can be traced back to the Mayflower. Both the past and the present of his family were important themes in his poetry. Growing up in Boston was also one of the themes that shaped his work, often located in the Boston and New England region, and literary scholar Paula Hayes argues that Lowell mythologized New England, particularly in his early works. p>

In his words, «[t] he poets that most directly influenced me […] were Allen Tate, Elizabeth Bishop, and William Carlos Williams. An unlikely combination! […] but you can see that Bishop is a kind of bridge between Tate’s formalism and Williams’ informal art. “He wrote poetry in verse and free verse; Sometimes, as in Life Studies and Notebook, some of his poems fall into an intermediate classification between both metrics.

After the publication of his book Life Studies (1959), which made him winner of the 1960 National Book Award and which was said to constitute “a new emphasis on the intense and uninhibited discussion of personal, family and psychological conflicts Lowell was considered an important part of the confessional poetry movement, but much of Lowell’s work, which often mixes the public with the personal, does not fit the typical model of this poetic movement. Instead, Lowell worked numerous distinctive forms and stylistic manners throughout his career.

He was appointed as the sixth Poet Laureate Poetry Consultant for the Congress Library, where he served from 1947 to 1948. In addition to winning the National Book Prize, he also won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1947 and 1974 , the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1977, and the National Institute of Arts and Letters Award in 1947. He is “widely regarded as one of the most important post-war American poets.” His biographer Paul Mariani he called him “the historian-poet of our time [and] the last of the influential public poets [of the United States].”

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