Life Studies

Winner, National Book Awards 1960 for Poetry

Life Studies by robert lowell book cover
ISBN 9780374530969
Farrar, Straus and Giroux | Farrar, Straus, and Cudahy
Robert Lowell - author photo
Robert Lowell

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. More about this author >

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Robert Lowell, with Elizabeth Bishop, stands apart as the greatest American poet of the latter half of the twentieth century―and Life Studies and For the Union Dead stand as among his most important volumes. In Life Studies, which was first published in 1959, Lowell moved away from the formality of his earlier poems and started writing in a more confessional vein. The title poem of For the Union Deadconcerns the death of the Civil War hero (and Lowell ancestor) Robert Gould Shaw, but it also largely centers on the contrast between Boston’s idealistic past and its debased present at the time of its writing, in the early 1960’s. Throughout, Lowell addresses contemporaneous subjects in a voice and style that themselves push beyond the accepted forms and constraints of the time.

Read Robert Lowell’s Acceptance Speech from the 1960 National Book Awards