Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Decade - Amy Lowell

 Amy Lowell (1874-1925) came from a privileged and wealthy background, a true-blue "Boston Brahmin" who became an influential figure in championing and publicizing the Imagist movement exemplified by Ezra Pound.   While her dedication and energy to furthering poetry made T.S. Eliot call her "the demon saleswoman of poetry", Pound, after he and Lowell had a falling out, called her "hippopoetess", a reference to her large size.   Educated by tutors, private schools and self-guided reading, Amy wrote from an early age and was published in numerous journals besides being an editor, critic and lecturer.  She won a Pulitzer in 1925 for her collection of poems, What's A Clock.  Somewhat forgotten after her death, interest in her revived with the interest in women/lesbian writers during the emergence of the women's movement in mid-late 20th century.  While she did live with a woman for the last decade or so of her life AND her poetry could be erotic (as the one below), there is no "smoking gun" about her sexual orientation since her lov... er, companion burned all the personal papers.  Regardless, "A Decade" is a jewel, for a man or a woman.  I particularly like how it speaks to both the immediate experience and how it transforms as it repeats over time into something sustaining as well for "a decade"...
A Decade

When you came, you were like red wine and honey,
And the taste of you burnt my mouth with its sweetness.
Now you are like morning bread,
Smooth and pleasant.
I hardly taste you at all for I know your savour,
But I am completely nourished.

                                                                                              Amy Lowell

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