Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Yankee Go Home

I really can't handle Robert Lowell. I think it's a perfect storm of not getting/caring about Biblical references, disliking the solemnity and self-importance of his tone, and the fact that I hate Boston, and sort of hate New England in general. The last part is almost the worst, because Lowell never lets you forget where he comes from: dude mentions "Concord" or "Nantucket" or "Melville" or "New Bedford" or "our fathers" on like every fucking page of Lord Weary's Castle. (John Wheelwright also has this problem, but he's such a weirdo it comes off charming.)

Actually those three complaints are related: because what repels me most about the gravitas Lowell's poems assume is that I know they are banking on the grandeur of the (mid-century) reader's associations with the Bible and with the history of Boston, two things I know little about and have a mostly hostile reaction towards. So it's not just an annoyance about an uncaught reference, as is par for the course with Modernism, but also a certainty that if I did know the reference I wouldn't be impressed by it.

Plus he had a weird-shaped head.