Robert Lowell (1917-1977)

A selective list of literary criticism for American mid-century poet Robert Lowell, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer-reviewed sources

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introduction & biography

"Robert Lowell." A substantial, encyclopedia-type introduction to Robert Lowell, and selections from his poetry, from the Poetry Foundation.

Vendler, Helen. "Robert Lowell." Audio file of a lecture delivered by Professor Vendler at the Art Institute of Chicago, 22 Oct. 2009. Poetry Foundation.

"Robert Lowell." Excerpts from reputable critical articles on the following poems: Man and Wife, Memories of West Street and Lepke, Skunk Hour, Inauguration Day, A Mad Negro Soldier Confined at Munich, Commander Lowell, For the Union Dead, The Mouth of the Hudson, July in Washington, The March I, The March II, Central Park. Includes a biography of Robert Lowell. Modern American Poetry, U of Illinois. Eds. Michael Thurston and Cary Nelson.

"Robert Lowell." A very short introduction to Lowell. Academy of American Poets.

"Robert Lowell." An overview of Lowell, with links to several reviews of his books, from the U.K. Guardian.

"'A Life's Study': Why Robert Lowell is America's most important career poet." By A.O. Scott in Slate, 20 June 2003.

"The Mad Poets Society." An article about McLean Hospital in Massachusetts, "once America's most literary mental institution," where Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, and Anne Sexton spent time. By Alex Beam, in the Atlantic, July/August 2001 [free].

Axelrod, Stephen Gould. "Robert Lowell and the Cold War." The New England Quarterly. 72, 3 (Sep., 1999), pp. 339-361 [free at jstor].

Axelrod, Stephen Gould. "Robert Lowell." An introduction to Lowell, from a database that provides signed literary criticism by experts in their field, and is available to individuals for a reasonably-priced subscription. Literary Encyclopedia. 30 March 2001 [subscription service].

Kirsch, Adam. "Reconsiderations: 'Life Studies' by Robert Lowell." On Lowell and confessional poetry. NY Sun, 18 June 2008.

literary criticism

Longenbach, James. "The Unfinishable Robert Lowell." Longenbach reviews Lowell's Collected Poems, edited by Frank Bidart and David Gewanter (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Boston Review 28 (Summer 2003).

Mariani, Paul. A review of Mariani's Lost Puritan: A Life Of Robert Lowell (Norton). Reviewed by Don Share in Boston Review Oct/Nov 1994.

Parini, Jay. "Robert Lowell in Retrospect." Salmagundi 141/142 (Winter - Spring 2004), pp. 138-144 [free at jstor].

Perloff, Marjorie G. "Realism and the Confessional Mode of Robert Lowell." Contemporary Literature 11, 4 (Autumn, 1970), pp. 470-487 [free at jstor].

Dana, Robert. "Far from the Ocean: Robert Lowell at Iowa, 1953." The writer, student-poet in Lowell's writing class at the Univ. of Iowa in 1953, describes the class and its teacher. The North American Review 282, 5 (Sep./Oct., 1997), pp. 48-52 [free at jstor].

Smith, Hallie. "Corpse-Keepers" and "Blind Musicians": The Ethics of American Poetic Translation in the Late Twentieth Century. Working Papers on the Web 12 (2009) [and Lyn Hejinian, translation, Russian poetry].

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