For the Union Dead

For the Union Dead For the Union Dead is a well known poem by Robert Lowell published in a book of the same name and originally written for the Boston Arts Festival in where Lowell first read it in public The

  • Title: For the Union Dead
  • Author: Robert Lowell
  • ISBN: 9780571135448
  • Page: 247
  • Format: None
  • For the Union Dead is a well known 1964 poem by Robert Lowell, published in a book of the same name and originally written for the Boston Arts Festival in 1960 where Lowell first read it in public.The title references Allen Tate s 1928 poem Ode to the Confederate Dead The setting of the poem is the Boston Common near the well known Robert Gould Shaw Memorial In the poemFor the Union Dead is a well known 1964 poem by Robert Lowell, published in a book of the same name and originally written for the Boston Arts Festival in 1960 where Lowell first read it in public.The title references Allen Tate s 1928 poem Ode to the Confederate Dead The setting of the poem is the Boston Common near the well known Robert Gould Shaw Memorial In the poem, Lowell s visit to the park leads to a series of associations that the dug up park conjures First, watching the construction of the underground parking garage beneath the Common makes him think about his childhood and how Boston had changed in particular, the South Boston Aquarium that he d visited as a child had recently been demolished in 1954.This leads him to think about the Robert Gould Shaw memorial and the history associated with the memorial including Robert Gould Shaw and the all black 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry that he led Finally, Lowell thinks of the then controversial civil rights movement and the images of the integration of black and white schoolchildren that Lowell had recently seen on television.The final lines of the poem, which read, The Aquarium is gone Everywhere, giant finned cars nose forward like fish a savage servility slides by on grease are particularly well known for their rather dark description of the large American cars that were popular at the time.

    One thought on “For the Union Dead”

    1. Now the midwinter grindis on me, New Yorkdrills my nerves,as I walkthe chewed-up streets.At forty-five,what next, what next?At every corner,I meet my Father,my age, still alive.Father, forgive memy injuries,as I forgivethose Ihave injured!You never climbedMount Sion, yet leftdinosaurdeath-steps on the crust,where I must walk.- Middle Age, pg. 7* * *I long for the black ink,cuttlefish, April, Communistsand brothels of Florence -everything, even the Britishfairies who haunted the hills,even the ch [...]

    2. These are poems that make me feel so close to their author that I find myself quite taken aback when I'm forced to remember "Robert Lowell is dead." I love the sense of horror and wonder in his poems. Lowell sees a world rife with trouble and pain and yet replete with beauty and wonder. Spiders are mentioned several times in the book, and yet they feel like omnipresent companions, reminders that nature permeates are lives and watches, immutable.

    3. "We too lean forward, as the heat waves rollover our bodies, grown insensible,ready to dwindle off into the soul,two motes or eye-flaws, the invisible. . .Hope of the hopeless launched and cast adrifton the great flaw that gives the final gift.Dear Figure curving like a questionmark,how will you hear my answer in the dark?"-Robert Lowell, "The Flaw"

    4. Not really a four star book, except in comparison with most other 20th century poetry books! There is a tendency for the poems' parts to be more than their wholes, but Lowell's imagistic power is strong.

    5. Reminds me of a lighthearted (maybe) Wallace Stevens. Not really my style, but still mesmerizing sometimes. Has the effect of making me feel more stupid than usual.

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