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May 24, 1959 - Image 4

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I

F S*Robert Lowell Enters
His Own Distinct Idiom

brilliant sonnet, "Words for Hart
Crane":
"When the Pulitzers showered
onsome dope
or screw who flushed our dry
mouths out with soap,
few people would consider why
I took
to stalking sailors, and
scattered Uncle Sam's

By RISS GR EGORY ican family ta Boston Lowell, re- ELL'S poems are gnarled, ing with heavy Edwardian furnI- , mphoney old-plated laurels to
dL the birds.
lated to Amy, James Russell, A knotty and, in complexity of ture. My father began to receive Because I knew my Whitmn
LIFE STUDIES, by Robert Lowell. Lawrence, and seven or eight rhyme, diction and metrics, re- his first quarterly payments from like a book,
Farrar, Straus and Cudahy. w earlier generations of "Mayflower sealed a conscious craftsman who the Mason - Myers Julian - James stranger in America, tell my
York. 1959. 90 pages. 53.50. / screwballs"), who criticized and had not always unlearned enough Trust Fund, sums 'not grand country: 1,
damned Boston and New England G. M. Hopkins or, in "The Mills," enough to corrupt us,' Mother ex- Catullus redivivus, once the
IOBERT LOWELL is regarded as (there is a great difference), em.. one who had learned too much plained. 'but sufficient to prevent rage
the outstanding American poet braced Roman Catholicism, who Browning. But there was no doubt Daddy from being entirely at the of the Village and Paris, used
under fifty. "Life Studies," his did not graduate from Harvard that Robert Lowell was a real mercy of his salary.' The Trust to play my role
new book, is a brilliant explanation College-all this was a Life-Time poet Critics called him "a genuine. sufficed: our lives became tan- of homosexual, wolfing the
of why he is so highly rated: he dream1. formidable, various and active talized with possibilities, and my stray lambs
has not omly talent, which is fairly T"Lo'd W 's poet . . a talent whose ceiling is father felt encouraged to take the who hungered by the
common, but the genius to change, e Castle" ws agy hurt strident ivisible," with a "moral earnest- risk-a small one in those boom( Place de la Concorde.
a quality which deiands mew of toe, and devout vith the nes operating in intense con- years-of resigning from the Navy My profit was a pocket with
raises. HIs nes' book reveals an peculiar Puritan fervor ihich scions activity." on the gamble of doubling his in- a hole.
altered man from the gifted poet of sm vd t"Life Studies" is both fruition come in business."
"Lord Weary's Castle" (1947i ands reseve to Roman con- of Lowell's previous lines of de- But it is in poetry that Lowell Wo asks for me, the Shelley
Ie sofe K 5i5 verts: of my age,
"The Mills of the Kavamnaughs velopment. and a new departure has accomplished most. His four must lay his heart out for m
(1951). "I walk upon the flood: in an idiom distinctly his own. The portrait-poems on Ford Madox bed and board."
Whsen "Lord Weary's Ca sf1e" . - My way is wayward' there is eight years between "The Mills of Ford, George Santayana, Delmore
p en rd erafrys patly- 50no way out: the Kavanaughs" and "Life Schwartz and Hart Crane, are The Lowell of "Lord Weary's Cas-
eared r rstprivately- Nowhowthewearwate Studies" are a parallel to the acutely appropriate to their sub- tle" would not have written that
printed volume) and won the Now sow the weary waters changes Yeats accomplished be- Jects. They are perceptive criticism poem,
Pulitzer Prize, Lotell chieved a well,- tween 1904 and 1914: where Yeats and, consequently, moving elegies. ' The last group of fifteen poems
to his Poetry, Life magazine, for The tree is down in blood: left the soft aestheticism of the These are clearly writers for whom gives the book its title. Here, more
example, published a photographic All the bats of Babel flap 'nineties to write major poetry of Lowell has a gentle, human ad- forcefully than before, one ad-
essay on Lowell. about a new order, Lowell has left the miration, orthodoxy or heresy not- mits the parallel between Yeats
A descendant of a great Amer- The rising sun of ell" perverse, whimpering didacticism withstanding. In "For George San- and Lowell, for who else has suc-
A____ __ sAswhich passes for orthodox mod- tayana" Lowell writes - ceeded in this century in both con-
ernity to grapple with his own "In the heydays of 'forty-five ceiving and executing a poem in
muse: "For there's more enterprise bus-loads of souvenir- the grand manner? With a bare
/ In walking naked." deranged simplicity of self that lacks self-
What sharpens the parallel of G.I s and officer-professors consciousness, with counter-point-
Lowell to Yeats is Lowell's auto- of philosophy ed and crossed rhythms, in a
biographical prose piece, "91 Re- came crashing through your transfigured until the simplest
vere Street," in this new book (it cell, words take on a rare luminous
was in 1914 that Yeats published puzzled to find you still alive, quality Lowell's "My Last After-
the first of his Autobiographies, free-thinking Catholic infidel, noon ith Ucle Devereux Wfne-
"Reveries over Childhood and stray spirit, who'd found o" m with Uncle Devereux Wins-
Youth"), It seems apparent that the Church too good to be low" beara comparsion with Yeats'
at a similar point both men passed believed. "Ancestral Houses."
through an initial engagement to Later I used to dawdle "My Last Afternoon" is surer-
a movement and set of attitudes, past Circus and Mithraic handed than the earlier "The
S Zonly to find what they had avoided, Temple Quaker Graveyard i Nantucket,
coming to grips with the self, to Santo Stefano grown and far more beautiful. It has an
contained the only truths they paper-thin ease and precision which proclaim
of thuwere likely to find-in poetry or like you from waiting. ... a Poet who sees history as some-
fno i -i sout. There at the monastery thing contained and summed up
Of V O S LAnd Lowell, like Yeats, writes hospital, in himself, a poet whose art is high
superb prose; one has the feeling you wished those geese-girl without inflation and is carefully
that it is almost too good. The sisters wouldn't bother sustained through a long poem,
-}"years since "The Mills" have their heads and yours by "., . I was five and a half.
brought to Lowell a detachment praying for your soul: My formal pearl gray shorts
which precludes repudiation of his 'There is no God and Mary had been worn for three
earlier poems; they stand as valid is His Mother'" ... minutes.
-for their time. Where he once
appeared to resent and deny his -a kind of poetry that suggests My Uncle was dying at
heritage as a curse, he now seems he has looked again at William twenty-nine.
to regard it and all its cumulative Carlos Williams' metrical magic, 'You are behaving like
weight with a humorous, ironical, that he has earned, at no small children,'
but not unkindly eye: suffering, to ask said my Grandfather,
".. ,.Ought I to regret my when my Uncle and Aunt left
"COUSIN CASSIE only became a seedtime? their three baby
close relation in 1922. In that I was a fire-breathing daughters,
year she died. After some un- Catholic C.O., and sailed for Europe on a
pleasantness between Mother and and made my manic last honeymoon .
a co-heiress, Helen Bailey, the statement, I cowered in terror.
estate was divided. Mother used telling off the state and I wasn't a child at all-
to return frozen and thrilled from president, and then unseen and all-seeing, I was
1 her property disputes, and I, know- sat waiting sentence in the Agrippina
ing nothing of the rights and bull pen in the Golden House of
wrongs, would half-perversely con- beside a Negro boy with Nero... .
fuse Helen Bailey with Helen of curlicues (Conclude on Page 15)
"WH IT ETroy and harden my mind against of marijuana in his hair."
" BONEIthe monotonous parti pris of
BLACK Mother's voice. AND, AT NO LESS sacrifice, to C a rvoyance
'Shortly after our move to Bos- answer himself with the lines,
ton in 1924, a score of unwanted "A car radio bleats,
Myers portraits was delivered to " d (Continued from Pae 2)
our house on Revere Street. These 'Love, 0 careless Love .
were later followed by 'their I hear dreaming of a relative at the m-
Moxees perfect combination dowry four moving vans groan- niy ill-spirit sob in each ment that relative is dying . . .
795 d____u_____________ blood cell, and all fail to tell a competent
of ingredients for the casual, as if my hand were at its witness of the dream before learn-
witn tilt Russell Gregory received throat . . . . ing of the actual death.
supreme - with just a light touch his B. A. in English from the I myself am hell; Only 80 letters could be en-
of Italian flavoring . .. to give new University. nobody's here--" dorsed as "worth following up,"
which comments strikingly on the Mrs. Dale said, and the follow-up,
excitement to your everyday dash-- conducted through correspond-
ence, reduced the number to 20,
ng bIf only eight or 10 viable accounts
FATHER'S AY GIFTS s turn up in a year, the Society be-
Sizesleves it has accomplished some-
thing, she continued, because
to 10 through the accumulation of in-
G et H m a formation from similar societies
throughout the world considerable
information is gained,
These phenomena have been
,Iclassed by most as 'strange' and
then completely discounted as a
" BLACK T HE PI PE W ITH A PEDIGR EE hoax. However, Dr. J. B. Rhine of
R'BEIGE'Duke University has conducted
TAN Pouches -Humidors -scientific research on the out-
TAGREENs -posts of consciousness. His find-
andRiENings have "established proof that
and man is something more than a

THE WORLD'S FINEST TOBACCO BLENDS physical being - not, therefore,
I I ! dependent wholly upon his human
Cn brain and physical senses for his
NTIEK pere ption, knowledge and devel-
Cmpus 11DownoE g5 ICENTEopment," a pamphlet published
619 121 lo pCby the Virgina Beach organiza
E. Liberty TWO STORES So. Main . . O y tion said.
1209-A S. University NO 3-6236 can these phenomena be true
-rs w i - One can only wonder,..
TH-I M i-U AN DAILY MAGAZINE

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