Lowell's poetry is individualistic and intense, rich in symbolism and marked by great technical skill. His later work indicates a philosophic acceptance of life and the world. His Life Studies (1959) is a frank and highly autobiographical volume in verse and prose, one of the first and most influential works of what is widely called
confessional poetry. Lowell often used his life as raw material for his verse, writing, for instance, of his family, his relationships with his wives, and his frequent bouts of depression and madness, the results of a severe bipolar disorder. Among his other poetry collections are Lord Weary's Castle (1946; Pulitzer Prize), For the Union Dead (1964), Near the Ocean (1967), Notebook: Nineteen Sixty-Seven to Nineteen Sixty-Eight (1969), The Dolphin (1973; Pulitzer Prize), Day by Day (1977), and Last Poems (1977). His translations include Racine's Phèdre (1969), Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound (1969), and miscellaneous European verse, collected as Imitations (1961). His dramatic adaptation of Melville's story
Benito Cereno is part of Lowell's trilogy of plays, The Old Glory (1968).
See his collected poems ed. by F. Bidart and D. Gewanter (2003) and collected prose ed. by R. Giroux (1987); J. Meyers, ed., Robert Lowell: Interviews and Memoirs (1988); his letters ed. by S. Hamilton (2005), his correspondence with Elizabeth Bishop ed. by T. Travisano and S. Hamilton (2008), and The Dolphin Letters ed. by S. Hamilton (2019); biographies by I. Hamilton (1982), P. Mariani (1994), R. Tillinghast (1995), and S. P. Stuart (1998); studies by M. Perloff (1973), J. Crick (1974), J. Price, ed. (1974), S. Yenser (1975), S. G. Axelrod (1978), B. Raffel (1981), M. Rudman (1983), N. Procopiow (1984), J. Meyers (1985), S. G. Axelrod, ed. (1986 with H. Deese and 1999), H. Bloom, ed. (1987), K. Wallingford (1988), W. Doreski (1999), and K. R. Jamison (2017).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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