Partner Ada Dwyer Russell

Queer Places:
Mount Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge, MA 02138, Stati Uniti
Sevenels, 70 Warren St, Brookline, MA 02445, Stati Uniti

Image result for amy lowellAmy Lawrence Lowell[1] (February 9, 1874 – May 12, 1925) was an American poet of the imagist school from Brookline, Massachusetts. She posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926.

Lowell was born into Brookline's Lowell family, sister to astronomer Percival Lowell and Harvard president Abbott Lawrence Lowell.[2]

School was a source of considerable despair for the young Amy Lowell. She considered herself to be developing "masculine" and "ugly" features and she was a social outcast. She had a reputation among her classmates for being outspoken and opinionated.[3]

Lowell never attended college because her family did not consider it proper for a woman to do so. She compensated for this lack with avid reading and near-obsessive book collecting. She lived as a socialite and travelled widely, turning to poetry in 1902 (age 28) after being inspired by a performance of Eleonora Duse in Europe.

Lowell was said to be lesbian, and in 1912 she and actress Ada Dwyer Russell were reputed to be lovers. Russell is reputed to be the subject of Lowell's more erotic works, most notably the love poems contained in 'Two Speak Together', a subsection of ''Pictures of the Floating World''. The two women traveled to England together, where Lowell met Ezra Pound, who at once became a major influence and a major critic of her work. Pound considered Lowell's embrace of Imagism to be a kind of hijacking of the movement.

Jean Gould, author of Amy: The World of Amy Lowell and the Imagist Movement, comes closer to establishing that Lowell and Russell became lovers. Gould had the cooperation and the approbation of Eleanor Robson Belmont, an actress who performed with Ada for many years and who became Mrs. August Belmont, a prominent public figure in New York City. Belmont also became one of Amy's dearest friends. On January 29, 1975, Belmont wrote to Gould: "Ada knew the Foster Damon book was not a good one, but she gave him the facts, and she felt they were there and that a good book would, and of course, should, be forthcoming some day." On November 3, 1975, Belmont wrote again to Gould: "Congratulations, bushels of congratulations.... I find it a remarkable piece of work you have done. The research is far-reaching. The understanding of Amy's character and generosity of her intentions is made very clear." Gould was the only biographer to even begin an exploration of Lowell's lesbianism. If Belmont had objected to Gould's approach, the biographer would have received a far different letter. Indeed, Gould's papers at the University of Toledo reveal that Belmont insisted on approving Gould's manuscript before it could be published. Belmont was wary of biographers because of Horace Gregory's book: "I can still feel the shock and indignation I felt when it came out. Not only did I find many of his statements inaccurate—even things where a small amount of research would have made the accurate facts available—then to my infinite surprise, I too thought he was positively "hostile" to a fellow poet ... at times he seemed almost vindictive, as if lie held a personal grudge against her." Indeed, Gregory's constant characterization of Lowell as a "clubwoman" suggests the condescension that colors his book. No wonder Belmont welcomed the first biography that attempted to explore in Amy Lowell's life in full.

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Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA

Lowell has been linked romantically to writer Mercedes de Acosta, but the only evidence of any contact between them is a brief correspondence about a planned memorial for Duse.

The editors of Poetry, Harriet Monroe and Alice Corbin Henderson included in their 1917 selection for The New Poetry: An Anthology poems by Amy Lowell. According to Adrienne Munich and Melissa Bradshaw, authors of Amy Lowell, American Modern, what connects these poets is their appartenance to the queer sisterhood.

When the famously overbearing Amy Lowell went one morning unannounced and tried to insinuate herself onto the Little Review staff, Margaret Anderson bravely stood her ground, refusing to be bought. Big-boned and so immense, Margaret remembered, that she could barely squeeze through the door, Amy Lowell was a poet herself. “I have money,” Amy announced. “You haven’t.” She was prepared, she said, to offer Margaret $150 a month in return for editorship of the Little Review poetry department. “I’ll merely direct,” she added. “You can count on me never to dictate.” “No clairvoyant was needed to know that Amy Lowell would dictate … any adventure in which she had a part,” Margaret wryly observed. She was so sorry, she answered, but she couldn’t possibly function “in association.”

Lowell was a short but imposing figure who kept her hair in a bun and wore a pince-nez. Lowell smoked cigars constantly, claiming that they lasted longer than cigarettes. She was associated with her cigar-smoking habit publicly, since newspapers frequently mentioned it.[4] A glandular problem kept her perpetually overweight, so that poet Witter Bynner once said, in a cruel comment repeated by Ezra Pound and thereafter commonly misattributed to him, that she was a "hippopoetess."[5] Her admirers defended her, however, even after her death. One rebuttal was written by Heywood Broun in his obituary tribute to Amy. He wrote, "She was upon the surface of things a Lowell, a New Englander and a spinster. But inside everything was molten like the core of the earth... Given one more gram of emotion, Amy Lowell would have burst into flame and been consumed to cinders." [6]

Lowell died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1925, at the age of 51 and is buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery.[7] The following year, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for ''What's O'Clock''. That collection included the patriotic poem "Lilacs", which Louis Untermeyer said was the poem of hers he liked best.

Lowell is also connected to Lillie P. Bliss.


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