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Homecoming

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



What was is... since 1930;
the boys in my old gang
are senior partners. They start up
bald like baby birds
to embrace retirement.
 
At the altar of surrender,
I met you
in the hour of credulity.
How your misfortune came out clearly
to us at twenty.
 
At the gingerbread casino,
how innocent the nights we made it
on our Vesuvio martinis
with no vermouth but vodka
to sweeten the dry gin,
 
the lash across my face
that night we adored...
soon every night and all,
when your sweet, amorous
repetition changed.
 
Fertility is not to the forward,
or beauty to the precipitous,
things gone wrong
clothe summer
with gold leaf.
 
Sometimes
I catch my mind
circling for you with glazed eye,
my lost love hunting
your lost face.
 
Summer to summer,
the poplars sere
in the glare,
it's a town for the young,
they break themselves against the surf.
 
No dog knows my smell.
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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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