Amy Lowell (February 9, 1874 – May 12, 1925) was an American poet known for a form of poetry called Imagism. The product of a wealthy Brookline, Massachusetts family who didn’t allow their females to attend college. Thus, she became an avid reader and collector of books. Lowell was known for her forceful personality and habits, which included smoking cigars and using radical language.
Imagist poetry, according to her was defined as the “concentration is of the very essence of poetry” and aimed to “produce poetry that is hard and clear, never blurred nor indefinite.” Her first collection of poems, A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass, was published in 1912, to a tepid response. Around the same time, she began a relationship with an actress, Ada Dwyer Russell.
A trip to Europe brought her into contact with poet Ezra Pound who was both an influence on her work, and also a critic of it — he believed that she somehow usurped the imagist movement. Despite her inauspicious beginnings as a published poet, Lowell saw more success as her career progressed.
Her poetry was widely published in magazines and other publications. Sword Blades and Poppy Seed (1914), a collection of poems enjoyed much favorable attention, as did her collection of literary criticism, Six French Poets (1915).
Lowell’s energy was legendary — she lectured tirelessly to promote poetry, and wrote ceaselessly — in addition to more than 650 poems, she wrote numerous essays, as well as works of criticism and translation.
The poet suffered from a glandular disorder that caused many health problems, and in 1925, at age 51, died of a cerebral hemorrhage. In 1926 she won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, for What’s O’Clock. Lowell’s work faded from favor for some time, but the women’s movement of the 1970’s brought renewed attention to her work.
More about Amy Lowell on this site
- Dome of Many-Coloured Glass
- Men, Women and Ghosts
- Sword Blades and Poppy Seed
- Selected Poems
- Six French Poets: Studies in Contemporary Literature
- What’s O’ Clock
Biographies about Amy Lowell
- Amy Lowell, American Modern by Melissa Bradshaw and Adrienne Munich
- Amy Lowell Among Her Contemporaries by Carl Rollyson
- Amy Lowell Anew: A Biography by Carl Rollyson
- The Letters of D.H. Lawrence and Amy Lowell 1914-1925
by E.Claire Healey and Keith Cushman
- Amy Lowell: Diva Poet by Melissa Bradshaw
- Lowell Scholarship for American Poets
- Amy Lowell Poems
- Lowell page on Amazon
- Reader discussion of Lowell’s works on Goodreads
Articles, News, Etc.
Visit and research
- The Amy Lowell Room – Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
- Amy Lowell’s Grave – Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA
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