Robert Lowell

Considered by many to be the most important poet in English of the second half of the twentieth century, Robert Lowell studied at Kenyon College under John Crowe Ransom and received an undergraduate degree in 1940. He published over fifteen books of poetry in his lifetime and received the Pulitzer Prize in 1947 at the age of thirty.

Summer 1998

The First Sunday in Lent

By R. T. S. Lowell

From THE KENYON REVIEW, AUTUMN 1946 1. IN THE ATTIC  The crooked family chestnut sighs, for March,   Time’s fool, is storming up and down the town;   The gray snow squelches and […]

Winter 1939

The Dandelion Girls

By R. T. S. Lowell

As home-made candles with fuzzy wicksBent birches sprout out of a knobWhere brilliant clouds have surged away —Clouds are luxuriantly grey. Slackly curling below this knobA stagnant brook is stiff […]

Autumn 1944

A Note

By Robert Lowell

The Hopkins Centennial [We published in the Summer issue four papers about General Manley Hopkins, on the occasion of the centennial anniversary of the poet’s birth. The tribute is concluded […]

Winter 1946

Winter in Dunbarton

By Robert Lowell

Time smiling on this sundial of a world Corrupted the snow-monster and the worm, Ransacker of shard statues and the peers Of Europe; but our cat is cold, is curled […]

Fall 1946

Mary Winslow

By Robert Lowell

Her Irish maids could never spoon out mush Or orange-juice enough; the body cools And smiles as a sick child Who adds up figures, and a hush Grips at the […]

Fall 1946

At a Bible House

By Robert Lowell

At a Bible HouseWhere smoking is forbidden By the Prophet’s Law, I saw you wiry, bed-ridden, Gone in the kidneys: raw Onions and a louse Twitched on the sheet before […]

Fall 1946

The First Sunday in Lent

By Robert Lowell

I. IN THE ATTIC  The crooked family chestnut sighs, for March,   Time’s fool, is storming up and down the town;   The gray snow squelches and the well-born stamp   From sermons in […]

Summer 1948

Mother Marie Therese

By Robert Lowell

(She was drowned in 1912. The speaker is a Canadian nun stationed in New Brunswick.) Old sisters at our Maris Stella House Remember how the Mother's strangled grouse And snow-shoe […]

Autumn 1953

Prose Genius in Verse

By Robert Lowell

Brother To Dragons by Robert Penn Warren. Random House. $3.50. In spite of its Plutarchan decor, Brother to Dragons is a brutal, perverse melodrama that makes the flesh crawl. On […]

Winter 1939

The Cities’ Summer Death

By R. T. S. Lowell

The summer hospital enframesIn its fashionable windowsBoats brow-beaten by varnished stormsAnd curbed-off grass where no cows browse. Grandfather feathery as thoughtFurls his flurried wrapper and floatsOff his adjustable bedWafted on […]

Spring 1955

The Muses Won’t Help Twice

By Robert Lowell

The Metamorphoses Of Ovid. An English version by A. E. Watts. University of California Press. $5.00. A. E. Watts’s translation of the Metamorphoses into five-foot couplets is admirable, steady, civilized—and […]

Winter 1964

Those Before Us

By Robert Lowell

They are all outline, uniformly gray, unregenerate arrowheads sloughed up the path here, or in the corners of the eye, they play their thankless, routed roles. They never were. Wormwood […]

Summer 1943

Satan’s Confession

By R. T. S. Lowell

       I. The Garden “My laurels are cut down,”The Son of Morning mourns;   ”Old Adam’s funeral wreath,   Once crossed with death,Is Jesus’ crown,The Scapegoat’s Crown of thorns. There is an idle-richImage […]

Summer 1998

The Cities’ Summer Death

By R. T. S. Lowell

The summer hospital enframes In its fashionable windows Boats brow-beaten by varnished storms And curbed-off grass where no cows browse. Grandfather feathery as thought Furls his flurried wrapper and floats […]

Summer 1998

The Dandelion Girls

By R. T. S. Lowell

From THE KENYON REVIEW, WINTER 1939 As home-made candles with fuzzy wicksBent birches sprout out of a knobWhere brilliant clouds have surged away —Clouds are luxuriantly grey. Slackly curling below […]

Fall 1962

The Tenth Muse

By Robert Lowell

Tenth Muse, Oh my heartfelt Sloth, how often now you come to my bed, thin as a canvas in your white and red check dresses like a tablecloth, my Dearest, […]

Summer 1998

Satan’s Confession

By R. T. S. Lowell

 I. The Garden “My laurels are cut down,”The Son of Morning mourns;   ”Old Adam’s funeral wreath,   Once crossed with death,Is Jesus’ crown,The Scapegoat’s Crown of thorns. There is an idle-richImage of the […]

Winter 1964

Dropping South: Brazil

By Robert Lowell

Walking and walking in a mothy robe, one finger pushing through the pocket-hole, I crossed the reading room and met my soul, hunched, spinning downward on the colored globe. The […]

Winter 1964

Night Sweat

By Robert Lowell

Work-table, litter, books and standing lamp, plain things, my stalled equipment, the old broom— but I am lying in a tidied room, for ten nights now I've felt the creeping […]

Summer 1998

Mr. Edwards and the Spider

By R. T. S. Lowell

I saw the spiders marching through the air,  Swimming from tree to tree that mildewed day    In latter August when the hay    Came creaking to the barn. But where      The […]

Winter 1964

The Neo-Classical Urn

By Robert Lowell

I rub my head and find a turtle shell, stuck on a pole, each hair electrical with charges, and the juice alive with ferment. Bubbles drive the motor, always purposeful […]

Summer 1998

Mary Winslow

By R. T. S. Lowell

Her Irish maids could never spoon out mush Or orange-juice enough; the body cools And smiles as a sick child Who adds up figures, and a hush Grips at the […]

Winter 1964

The Lesson

By Robert Lowell

No longer to lie reading Tess of the D'Urbervilles, while the high mysterious squirrels rain small green branches on our sleep! All that landscape, one likes to think it died […]

Summer 1998

At a Bible House

By R. T. S. Lowell

At a Bible HouseWhere smoking is forbidden By the Prophet’s Law, I saw you wiry, bed-ridden, Gone in the kidneys: raw Onions and a louse Twitched on the sheet before […]