For decades, the work of one of America’s most influential poets, 1925 Pulitzer Prize–winner Amy Lowell (1874–1925), has been largely overlooked. This vigorous, courageous poet gave voice to an erotic, thoroughly American sensibility. Cigar-smoker, Boston Brahmin, lesbian, impresario, entrepreneur, and prolific poet, Lowell heralded the rush of an American poetic flowering. A best-selling poet as well as a wildly popular lecturer (autograph-seeking fans were sometimes so boisterous that she required a police escort), she was a respected authority on modern poetry, forging the path that led to the works of Allen Ginsberg, May Sarton, Sylvia Plath, and beyond. Yet, since her death, her work has suffered critical neglect.
This volume presents an essential revaluation of Lowell, and builds a solid critical basis for evaluating her poetry, criticism, politics, and influence. Essays explore the varied contributions of Lowell as a woman poet, a modernist, and a significant force of the literary debates of early twentieth-century poetics. In addition to placing Lowell in her proper historical context, contributors demonstrate her centrality to current critical and theoretical discussions: feminist, gay and lesbian, and postcolonial, in as well as in disability, American, and cultural studies. The book includes a transatlantic group of literary critics and scholars. Amy Lowell, American Modern offers the most sustained examination of Lowell to date. It returns her to conversation and to literary history where she belongs.