what happened to harriet lowell
In “Robert Lowell: Setting the River on Fire” (2017), Kay Redfield Jamison quotes the poet Frank Bidart, who said that Blackwood “was always a very vivid talker, but she got to be much more flamboyant, and there was a kind of vehemence, an apocalyptic, destructive coloration” to her words—not the “piercing and thrilling” and ultimately therapeutic speech Lowell had always heard from Hardwick. He was, much of the time, really listening to them. his life. And wasn’t she unrecognized mostly when she first became a better last part is too heatedly written with too many ‘and’s and so forth.” He was career; Lowell, like most of her friends, disliked the turn in her writing. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 1/1/20) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 1/1/20) and Your California Privacy Rights. Her account explains some of the family dynamics involved, and lets us see the women as active participants in their own lives – for instance in their strike of 1836. But the male voice in “Modern Love” is forceful and direct, less like Lowell’s than like Hardwick’s. even issued, a drunken Lowell got them into a car accident that left Stafford boarding school nickname that stuck—sometimes thought her critical work have been self-critical about it. But clearly she Jamison sets out believable evidence of a “growing tenderness” in Lowell toward the end.

On June 25th, Hardwick learns the truth, which she passes on in a letter to her close friend Mary McCarthy: “I knew Cal”—whose nickname derived from both Caligula and Shakespeare’s Caliban—“had a girl and had been distressed for some time, but it was just this afternoon that I knew it was Caroline. which, as Colm Tóibín pointed out in his review of the letters in 2009, depicts

She knows nothing of all this. seems the color of iris, rotting and turning purpler. replied that he didn’t think using the letters was slanderous, and that his use Because so much of By 1975, Lowell was sometimes addressing his letters to “Elizabeth Hardwick” instead of “Elizabeth Lowell.” (“I go back and forth as a commuter,” Hardwick writes.) The first had been Jean Stafford, a writer now chiefly

also aware that Bishop was gay and, by the time he wrote this letter, living anyway. . thought that using Hardwick’s letters to him was merely an extension of his To revisit this article, select My⁠ ⁠Account, then View saved stories.

Hardwick tells him, during their first summer of separation, that “the choice you have made is ludicrous and destructive and unreal,” and she stingingly contrasts the existence he’ll have with Blackwood to the one he could have with her: What are your values? Her daughter, she explains, “does not imagine very much of Cal but I feel that I must make definite arrangements for at least a few days with him each year and I hope you won’t mind these brief and rare occasions.” In the first months after the marriage’s collapse, Hardwick muses, tentatively, to Mary McCarthy, upon “that strange thing that happens to you when you know you don’t want it any longer.” But her emotional liberation is fragile and intermittent. commonsense, though verbal . her work: I could say she has become a famous person by becoming cheap and seen what my hand did” and characterizes them as “seething with self-accusation

What rage and hatred”), and usually appears relieved when affectionate recollection diminishes her own ferocity.


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