Thursday, October 26, 2006

Writer's Corner: Robert Lowell

Lowell was born in Boston, Mass on March 1, 1917. He attended Harvard for two years, but left to complete his education at Kenyon College under the study of John Crowe Ransom. Lowell has always been associated with the confessional movement, and it is that raw honesty that make his work so valuable to the American culture.

A poem that still has special meaning during these modern times is a poem that was commissioned for and first read at the Boston Art Festival in 1960. "For the Union Dead" addresses the possibility of our nations nuclear annihilation.

"The old South Boston Aquarium stands
in a Sahara of snow now. Its broken windows are boarded.
The bronze weathervane cod has lost half its scales.
The airy tanks are dry.

Once my nose crawled like a snail on the glass;
my hand tingled
to burst the bubbles
drifting from the noses of the cowed, compliant fish."
-(from For the Union Dead, 1964)

For the full text of this poem and many others by Robert Lowell go here.