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The Downside Of Talking To The Dead

Conversing with dead people isn't all it's cracked up to be. The other night I had a brief edgy chat with Robert Lowell, the great poet who taught me poetry...

Books: A Self-Examined Life

Robert Lowell: 1917-1977 "Ah the swift vanishing of my older/ generation," Robert Lowell lamented in a sonnet not long ago, "the deaths, suicide, madness/ of...

Books: Damned Gifts

When Charlotte Lowell's husband left home, she turned to her son. "Oh, Bobby," she told him, "it's such a comfort to have a man in the house." The...

Books: Wild Man

ROBERT LOWELL by Ian Hamilton Random House; 527pages; $19.95 To those who never saw Robert Lowell on the occasions when he was out of his mind, the best poet...

Poets: The Second Chance

POETS (See Cover) In a scene that draws forever the line between the poet and the square, Hamlet, prince and poet, converses with the busy bureaucrat Polonius:...

Books: The Chameleon Poet

NOTEBOOK, 1967-68 by Robert Lowell. 161 pages. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $6. In one of her celebrated remarks, Gertrude Stein once wrote, "Remarks are not...

Books: Never Apologize, Always Explain the Fifties

The '50s were an important time for Edmund Wilson, a time of personal re- examination and rededication, a time of prodigious work despite illness, irritability...

Books: Trying to Say What Happened

DAY BY DAY by Robert Lowell; Farrar, Straus & Giroux; 138 pages; $8.95 On first reading, this new chapter in what Poet Robert Lowell has called "my verse...

Books: Poet of the Particular

FOR THE UNION DEAD by Robert Lowell. 71 pages. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $3.95. "The fact is the sweetest dream that labor knows," Robert Frost once wrote in a...

Books: The Limits of Imitation

IMITATIONS (149 pp.)—Robert Lowell —Farrar, Straus & Cudahy ($4.50). Poets, like pumps, sometimes need priming. Schiller kept a drawer full of rotten apples,...

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