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History

Robert Lowell 1917 (Boston) – 1977 (New York City)



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.
Abel was finished; death is not remote,
a flash-in-the-pan electrifies the skeptic,
his cows crowding like skulls against high-voltage wire,
his baby crying all night like a new machine.
As in our Bibles, white-faced, predatory,
the beautiful, mist-drunken hunter's moon ascends,
a child could give it a face: two holes, two holes,
my eyes, my mouth, between them a skull's no-nose,
O there's a terrifying innocence in my face
drenched with the silver salvage of the mornfrost.
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

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Robert Lowell

Robert Traill Spence "Cal" Lowell IV was an American poet. He was born into a Boston Brahmin family that could trace its origins back to the Mayflower. His family, past and present, were important subjects in his poetry. Growing up in Boston also informed his poems, which were frequently set in Boston and the New England region. Lowell stated, "The poets who most directly influenced me ... were Allen Tate, Elizabeth Bishop, and William Carlos Williams. An unlikely combination!..... but you can see that Bishop is a sort of bridge between Tate's formalism and Williams's informal art." Lowell was capable of writing both formal, metered verse as well as free verse; some of his verse, in some poems from Life Studies and Notebook, fell somewhere in between metered and free verse. After the publication of his 1959 book Life Studies, which won the 1960 National Book Award and "featured a new emphasis on intense, uninhibited discussion of personal, family, and psychological struggles," he was considered an important part of the confessional poetry movement. more…

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    "History" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 28 Nov. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/56518/history>.

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