3 Poems of Adolescent Love & Hazing by Robert Lowell

5 thoughts on “3 Poems of Adolescent Love & Hazing by Robert Lowell”

  1. When he’s good he great, tho I felt ambivalent about him for a long time. I saw in his huge & uneven output a manic depressive who couldn’t stop writing because it was the only thing that kept him level. But to some extent now I see that’s what most poets are doing anyway, & he at least bottled lightning more than the rest of us. It’ll be fun to post more of him, I dunno if I’ll lean more towards the early gothic encrusted formal poems or the later looser autobiographies like this

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  2. i’m familiar, only with Lord Weary & the Mills, & Life Studies; i also read his Prometheus Bound. i never had a Complete Poems of Lowell. So i don’t know much of his later stuff.
    It’s funny that you say you were “ambivalent” because of his “uneven output” which really hinged more on experience & a coping mechanism for that. Don’t we all really do that? i wonder what it is about a certain over-indulgence in personal experience that bothers us at times? It’s as if we want this universality from our poets, as if that is a thing that they should focus on to deliver. If there is a local as universal for place, can there be the same logic applied to person?

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  3. It took me a long time to realize what you just said. I thought the same thing about Dylan, an endless career in the public eye with endless, sometimes terrible, albums. (I’m sure that reaction is mostly jealousy that I haven’t had the chance to do th same, even to fail more in public.) But the basic realization came with somebody like Stevens: his essential poems to me are no doubt different from what you’d say, or somebody else. In this sense everyone’s uneven. Nowadays I’m content to let a poet do what he will, whatever it is, just keep writing. The final chips won’t fall for generations anyway. There’s only the trying & the making.

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  4. i don’t listen to anything by Dylan after Desire, just isn’t worth it.

    Seems a poet can’t know the exact recipe every time to make people see the poem they wrote as essential. i think the context of a collection helps. This is why i don’t like unpublished poems, they don’t have that background context poems that belong to a collection have. This is why, for my own benefit really, i always write with a title, subject, theme or some such in mind, broad enough to let me move, but restricted enough to establish that, at some point, the pursuit will organically come to exhaustion.
    Poets have to be uneven or they might just end up churning out the same poem in a different order. Its all a sort of trial & error: so long as they write they might just get that right alchemical solution that produces something of value, but if they are too timid to write for fear of failure, then what chance is there?

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