Read Notebook: Poems by Robert Lowell Free Online
Book Title: Notebook: Poems|
The author of the book: Robert Lowell
Edition: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Date of issue: April 30th 1995
ISBN 13: 9780374509477
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 976 KB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 2334 times
Reader ratings: 7.2
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"Notebook" is a sometimes engaging, often difficult book of blank-verse sonnets collected over the course of Lowell's lifetime by the poet himself. The sonnets are used in various ways -- as complete, discrete poems, as snapshots of larger pictures, as stanzas in near-epic works ... these are rarely love poems but almost uniformly meditations on an aspect of a thing, whether it be time, a single action, or something else. In doing so Lowell has launched an experiment that only a person with his talent, scope, and to some degree celebrity could make interesting.
A particular standout is his "The Nihilist as Hero," the first poem in the larger work "We Do What We Are":
'All our French poets can turn an inspired line,
but which has written six passable in sequence?'
said Valery. That was a happy day for Satan ...
One wants words meat-hooked from the living steer,
but the cold flame of tinfoil licks the metal log,
the beautifully unchanging fire of childhood
betraying a monotony of vision.
Life by definition breeds on change,
each season we scrap new cars and wars and women.
Sometimes when I am ill or delicate,
the pinched flame of my match turns living green,
the cornstalk in green tails and seeded tassel ...
A nihilist has to live in the world as is,
gazing the impossible summit to rubble.
"Notebook" is probably not the best introduction to Lowell. That honor would fall probably to "Life Studies" or possibly "Lord Weary's Castle."
Also, I was reading this book in line at the campus cafeteria. The sweet-faced young girl working the line watched me reading and said, "Oh ... I love Nicholas Sparks." I smiled.
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Read information about the authorRobert Lowell, born Robert Traill Spence Lowell, IV, was an American poet whose works, confessional in nature, engaged with the questions of history and probed the dark recesses of the self. He is generally considered to be among the greatest American poets of the twentieth century.
His first and second books, Land of Unlikeness (1944) and Lord Weary's Castle (for which he received a Pulitzer Prize in 1947, at the age of thirty), were influenced by his conversion from Episcopalianism to Catholicism and explored the dark side of America's Puritan legacy.
Under the influence of Allen Tate and the New Critics, he wrote rigorously formal poetry that drew praise for its exceptionally powerful handling of meter and rhyme. Lowell was politically involved—he became a conscientious objector during the Second World War and was imprisoned as a result, and actively protested against the war in Vietnam—and his personal life was full of marital and psychological turmoil. He suffered from severe episodes of manic depression, for which he was repeatedly hospitalized.
Partly in response to his frequent breakdowns, and partly due to the influence of such younger poets as W. D. Snodgrass and Allen Ginsberg, Lowell in the mid-fifties began to write more directly from personal experience, and loosened his adherence to traditional meter and form. The result was a watershed collection, Life Studies (1959), which forever changed the landscape of modern poetry, much as Eliot's The Waste Land had three decades before.
Considered by many to be the most important poet in English of the second half of the twentieth century, Lowell continued to develop his work with sometimes uneven results, all along defining the restless center of American poetry, until his sudden death from a heart attack at age 60. Robert Lowell served as a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets from 1962 until his death in 1977.
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