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Biography of Amy Lowell

Amy Lowell

Amy Lowell was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on February 9, 1874 into a prominent Boston, Massachusetts family. One of her brothers, Percival Lowell, was a famous astronomer who predicted the existence of Pluto. Another brother, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, served as president of Harvard University for several years. However, Amy herself never attended college, she made up for this loss of privilege with avid reading, almost obsessive.

Lowell lived as a socialite for much of her life. She traveled widely and turned to poetry in 1902 after being inspired by the European actress Eleonora Duse. Amy's first publication came in 1910 in the Atlantic Monthly and her first poetry publication, A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass, came just two years later.

That same year (1912), Miss Lowell met another actress, Ada Dwyer Russell, and quickly came attached, both physically and emotionally inspiring her to write her most exotic work. The two traveled together throughout the world, but it was in England where Lowell met Ezra Pound, who was once a major critic and influence on her work.

Lowell, who was once called a "hippopoetess" by Pound, dressed in manly clothing, short hair, wore a pince-nez and smoked cigars. Her lifestyle led her to be largely overweight.

Her writings included several critical works on French literature and a biography of John Keats.

Amy Lowell died of a cerebral hemorrhage on May 12, 1925, just a year before she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for What's O'Clock. Lowell's works were forgotten for many years, however, recently her works have resurged due to her lesbian themes and love poems to Ada Dwyer Russell.

Poems by Amy Lowell