AMY: A Portrait of Amy Lowell and the Imagist Movement by Jean Gould

AMY: A Portrait of Amy Lowell and the Imagist Movement

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Jean Gould's life of the obese, bisexual, loud-mouthed, cigar-smoking Boston Brahmin ""Hippopoetess"" is as simple-minded as her earlier biographies of Frost (1964) and Millay (1969), leading as it does to the very brink of designating Amy Lowell a 20th century influence to rank with T. S. Eliot. Gould overlooks the fact that in life, it was Amy's social position and wealth that impressed her poor fellow-poets, her business acumen combined with a hail-fellow-well-met approach to editors forcing open doors usually closed to one of such minimal talent. And when Amy Lowell died, she lost her best and most powerful champion. Someone should tell Jean Gould it's O.K. to write frankly and critically about second-stringers, because even if Amy Lowell was a dim poet she is a legend in her own right. Who could fail to be impressed by her sheer ballsiness? Who would not be intrigued by her infatuation with Eleonora Duse for whom she provided a regular supply of champagne--her assault on Thomas Hardy--her theft of ""Imagisme"" from Pound--her support of D. H. Lawrence, who was thrilled with her gift of an old typewriter--her attempt to bully Margaret Anderson into letting her co-edit the Little Review--her jealousy when Millay was the first woman to win the Pulitzer--her determination to surpass her brother, the president of Harvard, as well as outdo Frost, whose thoughtful (if obscure) eulogy noted ""she helped make it stirring times. . . ."" Gould makes a convincing case, though, for her love poems, which were written for her companion Ada Dwyer Russell, otherwise known as ""Pete."" Consider the unloved and unlovable Miss Lowell of Brookline who wanted so desperately to be ""Somebody,"" and these passionately overwritten poems of gratitude almost break your heart.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1975
Publisher: Dodd, Mead