Amy Lowell Anew: A Biography by Carl Rollyson

By Carl Rollyson

The arguable American poet Amy Lowell (1874-1925), a founding member of the Imagist team that incorporated D. H. Lawrence and H. D., excelled because the impresario for the "new poetry" that grew to become information around the U. S. within the years after international warfare I. Maligned via T. S. Eliot because the "demon saleswoman" of poetry, and ridiculed by means of Ezra Pound, Lowell has been taken care of by way of prior biographers as an overweight, sex-starved, inferior poet who smoked cigars and made a spectacle of herself, canvassing the rustic on lecture excursions that drew crowds within the hundreds of thousands for her electrifying performances.

In truth, Lowell wrote the various most interesting love lyrics of the 20 th century and led an entire and loving lifestyles together with her consistent significant other, the retired actress Ada Russell. She used to be presented the Pulitzer Prize posthumously in 1926. This provocative new biography, the 1st in 40 years, restores Amy Lowell to her complete humanity in an period that, ultimately, is starting to delight in the contributions of gays and lesbians to American's cultural history. Drawing on newly stumbled on letters and papers, Rollyson's biography ultimately offers this vivid poet her due.

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After a snowball fight in a public garden that made Amy feel like a child, she was chagrinned to learn that her friends had gone off for a walk without inviting her. “I never shall have any intimate friends. ” she lamented in her diary. ” But, alas, Polly, too, shied away from a “great rough masculine, strong thing like me,” Amy wrote. Amy could be wistful as well. ” Not yet sixteen, she wrote, “What I would not give to be a poet. Well day-dreams are daydreams. ” If not a poet, then perhaps she could be “Miss Amy Lowell, the leading photographist of to-day,” she dreamed in her diary.

I like her much better than before in fact I love her very much indeed, she does not pay much attention to me, but perhaps she will like me better by and by. ’ I wish that she would lose a boot button in school. ” 8 CHA P TE R 1 If Amy did not receive the higher education her brothers benefited from, she was hardly deprived of much, judging by her notebooks, which include outlines of the writings of Oliver Goldsmith, Thomas Gray, and Robert Burns, as well as notes on Julius Caesar, eighteenthcentury essays, and John Ruskin.

Not all of Lowell’s public activities were so conventional. At a party for the singer Lina Abarbanell (1879–1963) to celebrate Abarbanell’s OUT OF THE B ROOD ( 1 8 7 4–1 9 1 2 ) 27 appearance in the operetta The Merry Widow, 69 the guest of honor sang the songs of courtesans at Sevenels, and Boston society was affronted: “Several of the guests on departing told their hostess that they would not have come had they guessed what the entertainment was to be. ” 71 Abarbanell apparently visited Sevenels on several occasions, and it has been said that Amy had a “crush” on her.

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