Robert Traill Spence Lowell IV (March 1, 1917 – September 12, 1977) was an American poet, considered the founder of the confessional poetry movement. He was appointed the sixth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress where he served from 1947 until 1948. He won the Pulitzer Prize in both 1947 and 1974, the National Book Award in 1960, and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1977.
Lowell was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a Boston Brahmin family that included poets Amy Lowell and James Russell Lowell. His mother, Charlotte Winslow, was a descendant of William Samuel Johnson, a signer of the United States ... more »
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Robert Lowell Poems
The Old Flame
My old flame, my wife! Remember our lists of birds? One morning last summer, I drove by our house in Maine. It was still
Children Of Light
Our fathers wrung their bread from stocks and stones And fenced their gardens with the Redmen's bones; Embarking from the Nether Land of Holland, Pilgrims unhouseled by Geneva's night,
(for Elizabeth Bishop) Nautilus Island's hermit heiress still lives through winter in her Spartan cottage;
"To Speak Of Woe That Is In Marriag...
"The hot night makes us keep our bedroom windows open. Our magnolia blossoms.Life begins to happen. My hopped up husband drops his home disputes, and hits the streets to cruise for prostitutes,
For The Union Dead
The old South Boston Aquarium stands in a Sahara of snow now. Its broken windows are boarded. The bronze weathervane cod has lost half its scales. The airy tanks are dry.
My Dolphin, you only guide me by surprise, a captive as Racine, the man of craft, drawn through his maze of iron composition by the incomparable wandering voice of Phèdre.
Memories Of West Street And Lepke
Only teaching on Tuesdays, book-worming in pajamas fresh from the washer each morning, I hog a whole house on Boston's "hardly passionate Marlborough Street,"
Man And Wife
Tamed by Miltown, we lie on Mother's bed; the rising sun in war paint dyes us red; in broad daylight her gilded bed-posts shine, abandoned, almost Dionysian.
Those blessèd structures, plot and rhyme-- why are they no help to me now I want to make something imagined, not recalled?
History has to live with what was here, clutching and close to fumbling all we had-- it is so dull and gruesome how we die, unlike writing, life never finishes.
Waking In The Blue
The night attendant, a B.U. sophomore, rouses from the mare's-nest of his drowsy head propped on The Meaning of Meaning. He catwalks down our corridor.
What was is ... since 1930; the boys in my old gang are senior partners. They start up bald like baby birds
The Quaker Graveyard In Nantucket
Let man have dominion over the fishes of the sea and the fowls of the air and the beasts and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. I
Home After Three Months Away
Gone now the baby's nurse, a lioness who ruled the roost and made the Mother cry. She used to tie
The Old Flame
My old flame, my wife!
Remember our lists of birds?
One morning last summer, I drove
by our house in Maine. It was still
on top of its hill -
Now a red ear of Indian maize
was splashed on the door.
Old Glory with thirteen stripes
hung on a pole. The clapboard
was old-red schoolhouse red.
Inside, a new landlord,
a new wife, a new broom!
Atlantic seaboard antique shop
pewter and plunder
shone in each room.
A new frontier!
No running next door
now to phone the sheriff
for his taxi to Bath
and the State Liquor Store!