Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

With reference to the traditional ballad of Lord Weary, what makes Lord Weary’s Castle an appropriate title for Robert Lowell’s book?

What aspects of the New England past provided Lowell with material for his poems and plays?

What is the theme or cluster of themes in the poem “For the Union Dead”?

How does Lowell unite the diverse images of “For the Union Dead”?

How do the formal aspects of Lowell’s poetry change over the course of his writing career?

What is confessional poetry? What are Lowell’s principal achievements in this mode?

What insights into other creative spirits of Lowell’s time do you find in Life Studies?