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Collected Poems

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  2,343 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Frank Bidart and David Gewanter have compiled the definitive edition of Robert Lowell's work, from his first, impossible-to-find collection, Land of Unlikeness; to the early triumph of Lord Weary's Castle, winner of the 1946 Pulitzer Prize; to the brilliant willfulness of his versions of poems by Sappho, Baudelaire, Rilke, Montale, and other masters in Imitations; to the l
Paperback, 1186 pages
Published April 3rd 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2003)
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Diann Blakely
From the fall of Rome to that of the World Trade Center, a cloying, mindless and absurdist sincerity characterizes most political poetry, which often reads like paid-for newspaper memorials to lost loved ones. No one would have known better than Robert Lowell, whose long-awaited, monumental volume of collected verse appeared in June of this year, that politics suffers from the dangerous and inevitable curse of abstraction—simplistic “us vs. them” theories are perennial favorites—unless its pract ...more
The book is a comprehensive collection of Lowell’s work. Forever the tinker, one of the most interesting aspects of Lowell’s work is that he constantly revised. The collection contains not just the poems from his published collections, but also earlier versions published in literary journals. The book is fascinating in discovering Lowell’s process and how his poetry developed over time.
Richard Epstein
Jan 11, 2013 Richard Epstein rated it liked it
Once I thought Lowell a great poet. Each time I reread him, my estimation decreases. He now seems to me eminently disposable, something I never expected.
Jan 15, 2015 Jsavett1 rated it it was amazing
Goodness gracious. I've been working through this gargantuan tome for several years and I've finally finished it.

What to say about Lowell...

I was so intimidated and excited to start reading him that I made sure to get a hardcover version of this book over at The Strand because I knew that I'd be taking extensive notes and that it would become holy to me.

I'm happy to say that I DID takes notes (so many on some pages that I can barely make out the poem) and it did become holy in the way that great
Annie Weatherly-Barton
Jul 06, 2013 Annie Weatherly-Barton rated it it was amazing
Robert Lowell's poems first came to my notice when I was studying at university. A short section on American writers, novels, plays and poetry. I was totally captivated by Lowell's poems. As a pacifist Lowell spent time in prison for his beliefs. In my view his self-portraits of his time as a patient, suffering from manic depression, in Maclean Hospital is probably the most important. His searingly honesty about his treatment and his portraits of other "in mates" is probably the most heartbreaki ...more
May 14, 2008 Kevin rated it it was amazing
He'd dead--and deadly. I mean Lowell, for his generation, is the one most likely to have made a deal at the get such consistently twisted lines, tweaked for torsion beyond his days...he's got a rare combination of highly allusive literary hermeticism complicated by honest and straightforward delivery. He wasn't great to those around him, and his guilt surrounding interpersonal relationships (apparent in many poems) was probably earned, as most biographies relate. People look at e ...more
Jul 24, 2007 Mikael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: elizabeth bishop
i will always remember bob fondly for introducing me to poetry. i loved his life studies, which i bought while browsing gleebooks's deserted poetry section while i think it was the first harry potter installment was launched downstairs. i liked how the yellow of the fabe&faber edition was kinda pre-faded, and the turd-brown title fonts. i agree, life is shit. i wrote my first poem ever, which took me a few months, imitating lowell, the iambic pentameter, the likable, cute puppy-dog haughtine ...more
Paul Baran
May 20, 2007 Paul Baran rated it it was amazing
Lowell for me, was the Heir apparent to Whitman... he can re-translate classical myth with American vernacular and make it sound so exhilirating to the ear... his verse drums softly like a New Hampshire breeze and crashes loudly like a marching band. Every line is peirced with an auto-biographic lucidity, in that to get inside his rhythms, one has to give up part of themselves and allow his narrations to take you to interesting places in his sensitive psyche...

Iam still reading again and again..
Nicolas Brannon
Just read "91 Revere St." Hilarious piece in which Lowell, in his own way, writes about familial tensions like a WASP Woody Allen. In my favorite line, Lowell imagines the family patriarch looking out from his portrait over the heirloom sofa, chairs, and decorations, so symbolic of the family's aging lineal endowment and the source of so much tension, and saying "We are all dealers in used furniture."
Eric Smith
Jul 22, 2011 Eric Smith rated it really liked it
This is what it says it is, the collected works of Robert Lowell. It is an excellent book, well edited, but it is all poems, all the time, so you need to really be interested in Robert Lowell's work. I have read perhaps 25% of it at this point, but I'm moving on to other books. I have no doubt I will return to this book as the quality of his work really hits a good place for me.
Rob Whiting
Apr 07, 2016 Rob Whiting rated it liked it
It's almost too much to take in. I've had this for years, but I'm still going back to it, poem by poem. I've noticed Lowell tends to over-work his poetry, as if they were probably better before he started tinkering with them.
Lowell is a pain in the ass but ultimately rewards the patient reader. Most folks flock to Life Studies and For The Union Dead; I find myself returning again and again to his three sonnet collections (particularly History) and his swan song, Day By Day.
May 23, 2008 Frederick marked it as to-read
Shelves: lowell-robert
I can't write poetry. But I'm beginning to be able to read it. What I find shocking is that I understand a lot of this book. I've spent my life watching TV and listening to the Beatles. But I get this. It can't be!
Jun 06, 2008 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Massive 1000+ page book. I will confess that I have not read every piece of his work in the book. Great reference for Robert Lowell's work.
Feb 13, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
The man's range is incredible, and the translations of the major European poets are top quality. There is so much poetry here that I don't think I'll ever be done with reading the book itself.
Mar 13, 2009 Alex rated it really liked it
No doubt about the importance and value of the poems, but it's a cumbersome edition with erratic notes.
See ratings of individual Lowell books for more.
Aug 21, 2012 Ariel marked it as to-read
Definite "to-read" for this year.
Feb 15, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing
Jul 27, 2007 Jenni rated it really liked it
Shelves: poets
Very good. But to me, the poems he turned into sonnets don't really work. He over-revised.
Amy Kitchell-Leighty
Oct 21, 2008 Amy Kitchell-Leighty rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This was a gigantic fav poem is Skunk Hour.
Nov 16, 2007 Meg rated it liked it
Shelves: thumbing-through
imitations is fantastic. "helen" after valery is indiscernably wonderful and frightening.

he goes off at the mouth sometimes, though...
Reg Crawford
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Sep 14, 2012
Paul Leon
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Apr 03, 2013
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Amy E.
Amy E. rated it it was amazing
Dec 20, 2007
Liam Guilar
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Oct 22, 2011
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May 18, 2014
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Jul 11, 2013
Rusty rated it it was amazing
Jul 17, 2007
Kiernan Michau
Kiernan Michau rated it really liked it
Oct 31, 2013
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Robert Lowell, born Robert Traill Spence Lowell, IV, was an American poet whose works, confessional in nature, engaged with the questions of history and probed the dark recesses of the self. He is generally considered to be among the greatest American poets of the twentieth century.

His first and second books, Land of Unlikeness (1944) and Lord Weary's Castle (for which he received a Pulitzer Prize
More about Robert Lowell...

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“I saw the spiders marching through the air,
Swimming from tree to tree that mildewed day
In latter August when the hay
Came creaking to the barn. But where
The wind is westerly,
Where gnarled November makes the spiders fly
Into the apparitions of the sky,
They purpose nothing but their ease and die
Urgently beating east to sunrise and the sea;”
“Two months after marching through Boston,
half the regiment was dead;
at the dedication,
William James could almost hear the bronze Negroes breathe.

Their monument sticks like a fishbone
in the city's throat.
Its Colonel is as lean
as a compass-needle.

He has an angry wrenlike vigilance,
a greyhound's gently tautness;
he seems to wince at pleasure,
and suffocate for privacy.

He is out of bounds now. He rejoices in man's lovely,
peculiar power to choose life and die--
when he leads his black soldiers to death,
he cannot bend his back.”
More quotes…