Carl Rollyson, professor of English at Baruch College’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a 2008-2009 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for College Teachers to complete his book on the New England poet Amy Lowell. Click here to read more about this project.
A cousin of the more famous Robert Lowell, Lowell was born in 1874 and became a poet relatively late in life. The black sheep of her Boston Brahmin family, she began writing while in her thirties and considered herself a part of the then-new and innovative Imagist school of writers. Although she has faded into semi-obscurity in recent decades, Lowell was acquainted with many of the major poets of her day and was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926.
Rollyson, who will be on sabbatical next year, is already deeply immersed in researching the life of Lowell, a bluestocking eccentric who, during her heyday, gave many public lectures and was something of a celebrity. Commenting on how radically the Internet has changed research, Rollyson says he’s been able to cull newspapers articles about Lowell from the Sheboygan Press and other obscure publications. “The fact that they wrote about her so extensively shows what public figures poets were in those days–like rock stars today,” he notes.
Remarkably, this award is Rollyson’s third NEH grant. He has won on two previous occasions for a biography of Rebecca West (1994-95) and for A Higher Form of Cannibalism, a book on the art of biography (2000-2001).