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Robert Lowell

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June 22, 2003 | Caroline Fraser, Caroline Fraser is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and the author of "God's Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church."
IN the words of his friend Frank Bidart, Robert Lowell was "not quite civilized," not because Lowell was occasionally outrageous or intermittently out of his mind, although he was. He once camped, uninvited, for months on the lawn of his mentor, Allen Tate; he broke the nose of his first wife, Jean Stafford, once by accident, once on purpose; he altered and published the personal letters of his second wife, Elizabeth Hardwick, in his lacerating poems about his third, Lady Caroline Blackwood.
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November 7, 2008 | Jamie James, James is the author of "The Snake Charmer."
In 1961, Elizabeth Bishop wrote Robert Lowell about Madame de Sevigne, France's venerated master of the art of letter writing: "Have you ever read her? She is marvelous, and the wonder is that the letters survived, and are so much better than most things written on purpose." There's a sweet, self-conscious irony there: Bishop's own letters were exquisitely written and radiant with purpose, never more so than when she addressed Lowell, who took the medium as seriously as she did.
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BOOKS
September 4, 2005 | Marc Weingarten, Marc Weingarten is the author of the forthcoming "The Gang That Wouldn't Write Straight: Wolfe, Thompson, Didion and the New Journalism Revolution."
TO read this rich, illuminating collection of correspondence from one of the greatest American poets is to be reminded of a time when writers of verse weren't shunted away from society but were actively engaged in it. Not so much "the unacknowledged legislators of the world," as Percy Bysshe Shelley famously proclaimed, but acknowledged public figures.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 10, 2005 | Michael Standaert, Special to The Times
THIS snapshot of a book focuses on a few years in the life of W.S. Merwin just before he becomes a known poet, long before he could arguably be referred to as one of the greatest American poets of the 20th century. Never having to retreat to the shelter of academia, he managed to thrive off his work alone. Merwin is now in his late 70s, and "Summer Doorways" is a look back at his youth. One wonders why Merwin chose this period of his life for a memoir.
BOOKS
January 1, 1995 | Peter Filkins, Peter Filkins has translated Ingeborg Bachmann's collected poems, "Songs in Flight" (Marsilio Publishers). He teaches at Simon's Rock College of Bard in Great Barrington, Mass
Paul Mariani's "Lost Puritan: A Life of Robert Lowell," is a just and readable portrait of the man he views as "the poet-historian of our time," if not the last of our "influential public poets, poets in the tradition of Emerson, Frost, and Eliot." Grand statements, to be sure, but Robert Lowell's life and career were nothing less than grand, for long before his death in 1977, his stature as American poetry's most visible link to the "great tradition" of the past made him seem Olympian.
BOOKS
August 28, 1994 | RICHARD EDER
We think of our major cities as metropolises--New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle--and by that measure Boston doesn't begin to qualify. It is relatively small by population and economic clout. It has bounce but not much bounce-back; and the booms and rebirths it manages, from time to time, dissipate as inevitably as early-season Red Sox leads.
BOOKS
August 14, 1988 | Susan Cheever, Cheever's best-known book is "Home Before Dark," a memoir about her father. Her fifth novel will be published next year by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. and
"One of the great hardships of my childhood--and there were many, as many I suppose as have ever plagued a living creature--was that I could never find a decent place to read," Jean Stafford wrote in a short story titled "A Reading Problem." "If I tried to read at home in the living room, I was constantly pestered by someone saying, 'For goodness sake, Emily, move where it's light.
BOOKS
May 12, 1996 | SUSAN SALTER REYNOLDS
TALKING TO ANGELS: A Life Spent in High Latitudes by Robert Perkins (Beacon: $18; 106 pp.). In the spring of his 19th year, 1968, Perkins had (although he does not name it or explain the reasons for it) an old-fashioned nervous breakdown. He was admitted to McLean Hospital in Boston, a place where Robert Lowell did time and Anne Sexton once taught a poetry class.
BOOKS
August 3, 1986 | James Bartruff, Screenwriter Bartruff was twice Academy of American Poets prize winner at UCLA. and
You have to reckon with Brad Leithauser. Born in mid-Baby Boom--a generation which, considering its size, is most notable for having produced no great writers--Leithauser is a graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law School and already the recipient of numerous grants and awards, not the least of which is the arcane MacArthur Foundation "genius" award.
NEWS
May 31, 1985 | RICHARD EDER, Times Book Critric
Randall Jarrell's Letters, edited by Mary Jarrell (Houghton Mifflin: $29.95) Randall Jarrell was afflicted by whatever consumes the moth that doesn't fly into the flame. True, his gift for imagery and for a poetic line of handholds along a rock face was not far from that of such friends as Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop.
BOOKS
September 4, 2005 | Marc Weingarten, Marc Weingarten is the author of the forthcoming "The Gang That Wouldn't Write Straight: Wolfe, Thompson, Didion and the New Journalism Revolution."
TO read this rich, illuminating collection of correspondence from one of the greatest American poets is to be reminded of a time when writers of verse weren't shunted away from society but were actively engaged in it. Not so much "the unacknowledged legislators of the world," as Percy Bysshe Shelley famously proclaimed, but acknowledged public figures.
BOOKS
June 22, 2003 | Caroline Fraser, Caroline Fraser is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and the author of "God's Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church."
IN the words of his friend Frank Bidart, Robert Lowell was "not quite civilized," not because Lowell was occasionally outrageous or intermittently out of his mind, although he was. He once camped, uninvited, for months on the lawn of his mentor, Allen Tate; he broke the nose of his first wife, Jean Stafford, once by accident, once on purpose; he altered and published the personal letters of his second wife, Elizabeth Hardwick, in his lacerating poems about his third, Lady Caroline Blackwood.
BOOKS
April 2, 2000
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.
BOOKS
August 1, 1999
We smile at each other and I lean back against the wicker couch. How does it feel to be dead? I say. You touch my knees with your blue fingers. And when you open your mouth, a ball of yellow light falls to the floor and burns a hole through it. Don't tell me, I say. I don't want to hear.
BOOKS
May 12, 1996 | SUSAN SALTER REYNOLDS
TALKING TO ANGELS: A Life Spent in High Latitudes by Robert Perkins (Beacon: $18; 106 pp.). In the spring of his 19th year, 1968, Perkins had (although he does not name it or explain the reasons for it) an old-fashioned nervous breakdown. He was admitted to McLean Hospital in Boston, a place where Robert Lowell did time and Anne Sexton once taught a poetry class.
BOOKS
January 1, 1995 | Peter Filkins, Peter Filkins has translated Ingeborg Bachmann's collected poems, "Songs in Flight" (Marsilio Publishers). He teaches at Simon's Rock College of Bard in Great Barrington, Mass
Paul Mariani's "Lost Puritan: A Life of Robert Lowell," is a just and readable portrait of the man he views as "the poet-historian of our time," if not the last of our "influential public poets, poets in the tradition of Emerson, Frost, and Eliot." Grand statements, to be sure, but Robert Lowell's life and career were nothing less than grand, for long before his death in 1977, his stature as American poetry's most visible link to the "great tradition" of the past made him seem Olympian.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 10, 2005 | Michael Standaert, Special to The Times
THIS snapshot of a book focuses on a few years in the life of W.S. Merwin just before he becomes a known poet, long before he could arguably be referred to as one of the greatest American poets of the 20th century. Never having to retreat to the shelter of academia, he managed to thrive off his work alone. Merwin is now in his late 70s, and "Summer Doorways" is a look back at his youth. One wonders why Merwin chose this period of his life for a memoir.
NEWS
April 23, 1986 | RICHARD EDER, Times Book Critic
Your Native Land, Your Life by Adrienne Rich (W. W. Norton: $14.95) There are not so very many of our confessional poets left. Like prize photographers who move right up to the gun to get war's image, they set their perches on foolhardy overhangs for the sake of immediacy. Some topple into the pain they survey. Robert Lowell died of a heart attack after a life in and out of mental hospitals; John Berryman, Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton killed themselves.
FOOD
December 18, 1994 | BARBARA HANSEN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Want to put a straightforward, simple meal on the table in as little time as possible? Then don't buy this cookbook. Want to putter in the kitchen, explore bold and unusual flavors, cram your pantry with pomegranate concentrate, Chinkiang vinegar, asafetida and achiote seeds? Then buy this book. Wemischner thrives on complexity and experimentation. He's mad about ingredients the average cook has never heard of.
BOOKS
August 28, 1994 | RICHARD EDER
We think of our major cities as metropolises--New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle--and by that measure Boston doesn't begin to qualify. It is relatively small by population and economic clout. It has bounce but not much bounce-back; and the booms and rebirths it manages, from time to time, dissipate as inevitably as early-season Red Sox leads.
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