John Berryman has shown how even the careful details of the initial stanzas are a defense against being swept away into the void of an attack of madness and this sense of emptiness is intensified by the parody of love Lowell gazes on.
I move from the ocean inland. Thomas Parkinson Englewood Cliffs, N.
But the next two stanzas turn on and subvert the first four, as "Skunk Hour" abruptly shifts from ironic account of disintegrating town to the "dark night" of a personal ordeal. The monsters of both poems embody the inner truth of the observed scene and, equally frightening, make manifest his own disordered feelings.
The title poem is suffused with references to period details—advertising slogans, television images, the civil rights struggle. On "Skunk Hour" Robert Lowell The first four stanzas are meant to give a dawdling more or less amiable picture of a declining Maine sea town.
At the same time, the fall setting allows the poem to begin with a restatement of the emptiness and desolation which have permeated the volume.
Winner of the National Book Award inLife Studies was something new on the American literary scene, a breakthrough in both content and style.
His home was dominated by incessant tension between his parents. The later books of Lowell show one surprising change; where before he had written in loose verse paragraphs and occasionally in stanzas, he now takes up the sonnet form. As he also does in the brilliant opening lines of "Concord," Lowell suggests that the people are completely lost in their objects: Berryman suggests that this last action is a parody of the Eucharist and concludes a series of Christian overtones in the poem.
The "summer millionaire" has died, and his "nine-yacht yawl has been "auctioned off to lobstermen. In returning to a time-honored short verse format, Lowell sought a balance between order and spontaneity as a means to describe his moment-to-moment reflections.
In his introduction to the volume, Allen Tate distinguished between its religious poems, which depict the decline of Christianity in the modern world, and a few more dramatic poems concerning personal experience in the contemporary historical context. Family existence once again has value independent of all fictive or interpretative frames.
In this struggle one opposite is that cake of custom in which all of us lie embedded…. University of Miami Press, Its prose-like voice and intensely personal subject matter seemed to represent a bold step toward authenticity and directness and a liberation from the artifice of high modernism.
In the s he wrote intricate and tightly patterned poems with traditional meter and rhyme; in the late s he began to write in much looser forms and meters; in the s he wrote increasingly public poetry, and returned to conventional form with his sonnets; and finally, in the s, his poems incorporated and extended elements of all the earlier poetry.
The blurred boundary between recollected experience and the process of recollection makes it impossible to decide whether the analogues in the first four stanzas should be taken as reliable or not.
New American Library, I hoped my readers would remember St. Lowell, in an essay on the composition of the poem, revealed that he had written the stanzas about himself first, later adding the other four.Get this from a library!
Robert Lowell; a collection of critical essays.
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Prentice-Hall Spectrum paperback. nice clean, tight copy. Owner name front. Bibliography: p. Introduction: Robert Lowell and the uses of modern poetry in the university / Thomas Parkinson -- Robert Lowell interviewed / by Frederick Seidel -- Introduction to Land of unlikeness / Allen Tate -- Review of Land of unlikeness / R.P.
Blackmur -- From Kingdom of necessity / Randall Jarrell -- Review of Lord Weary's castle / Richard Eberhart -- Whom seek ye?: a note Pages: From "On Skunk Hour," in Robert Lowell: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed.
Thomas Parkinson (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, ), John R. Reed "Skunk Hour" is important not only because it is a good poem but also because it is a firm acceptance of the things of this world in all their ambiguous excellence.Download