Robert Lowell: Essays on the Poetry

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Robert Lowell is one of the most widely recognised and influential poets of the second half of this century. Yet his career is problematical and raises many questions about direction and quality, particularly in light of his repeated reorientation of thematic concern and poetic technique. Many previous studies of the poet have accounted for these radical differences in Lowell's work by examining the poet's private life, but this collection of essays attempts to reassess Lowell's poetry and to restimulate critical thinking about it by focusing on his texts to raise new questions and discussions about the work. The twelve essays in this volume, by many of the most distinguished scholars in the field, offer a chronological review of Robert Lowell's career as a poet. The book includes pieces on major works such as Lord Weary's Castle, Life Studies, For the Union Dead, 'Skunk Hour', Notebook, the sonnets of 1969-73 as well as four essays devoted to Lowell's last complete and often neglected work, Day by Day. Employing a variety of methodologies, the essays arrive at innovative and, often, controversial interpretations of Lowell's poems.