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March 01, 2011

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Robert Lowell's Life Studies was very influential on me when I was getting my MFA in the 80's, though it was my own private read, as we never discussed him in my program. I loved how he had that prose memoir in the middle of it without comment. I had been told to read Lowell by George Starbuck, who was my undergrad teacher. I'm glad he recommended him to me.

Laura, thank you for this post. Lowell is almost a ghost in many MFA Programs these days. My former grad students in poetry didn't recognize even this FAMOUS poem when they saw it in print: I'd put it in front of them and they couldn't say who had written it OR its context - disturbing.

ONE student had the audacity to declare, in class, that Lowell was "just another dead crazy white man." I bit my lip so hard it bled.

So I am especially grateful that you have written this remembrance of him and his life and his work.

In gratitude,
Anne

A couple of years ago I spent a summer reading Lowell's Collected. It was a lot of fun, and very rewarding.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark
                   

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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Ringfinger was nervous
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