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Amy Lowell (February 9, 1874 – May 12, 1925)

Amy Lowell was a poet of the imagist school, who posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926.

Lowell was born into Boston's prominent Lowell family. One brother, Percival Lowell, was a famous astronomer, who predicted the existence of the planet Pluto; another brother, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, served as President of Harvard University.

She herself never attended college because it was not deemed proper for a woman, but she compensated for this with her avid reading, which became near-obsessive book-collecting. She lived as a socialite and travelled widely, turning to poetry in 1902 after being inspired by a performance of Eleonora Duse in Europe. Her first published work appeared in 1910 in Atlantic Monthly.

 A Fixed Idea

What torture lurks within a single thought
When grown too constant, and however kind,
However welcome still, the weary mind
Aches with its presence. Dull remembrance taught
Remembers on unceasingly; unsought
The old delight is with us but to find
That all recurring joy is pain refined,
Become a habit, and we struggle, caught.
You lie upon my heart as on a nest,
Folded in peace, for you can never know
How crushed I am with having you at rest
Heavy upon my life. I love you so
You bind my freedom from its rightful quest.
In mercy lift your drooping wings and go.

The first published collection of her poetry, A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass, appeared two years later.

Lowell was lesbian, and in 1912 she and actress Ada Dwyer Russell became lovers. Russell was the subject of her more erotic work. The two women travelled to England together, where Lowell met Ezra Pound, who at once became a major influence and a major critic of her work. She was also linked romantically to writer Mercedes de Acosta, but only briefly.


Lowell was an imposing figure, who dressed in clothing considered manly, kept her hair cropped short, and wore a pince-nez. She smoked cigars constantly, claiming that they lasted longer than cigarettes. A glandular problem kept her perpetually overweight, so that Pound once commented that she was a "hippopoetess." Her writing also included critical works on French literature and a biography of John Keats.

Lowell died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1925. The following year, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for What's O'Clock. Forgotten for years, there has been a resurgence of interest in her work, in part because of its focus on lesbian themes and her collection of love poems addressed to Ada Dwyer Russell, but also because of its extraordinary, almost frightening, abiility to breathe life into inanimate objects, such as in "The Green Bowl", "The Red Laquer Music Stand", and "Patterns"–the last being one of the most devastatingly immediate evocations of grief ever written. Lowell's revival may also be due to her avoidance of irony and hyperbole in favor of a direct, almost taciturn, style which, though rich in description, empowers rather than overwhelms the reader.


Source: Wikipedia contributors, "Amy Lowell," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
URL: (accessed May 29, 2006).

External Links

An excellent biography of Amy Lowell by Carolyn Leste Law at
(glbtq - An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Culture.)

Much of Amy Lowell's poetry is extremely frank, forthrightly sensual, and often overtly lesbian.

One of Maoi's favorite sites regarding lesbian life and literature.

Eine ausführliche Biographie in deutscher Sprache finden Sie bei fembio

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