Monthly Archives: October 2012

New Book, With Robert Lowell and His Circle: Sexton, Plath, Bishop, Rich, Kunitz and others. University Press of New England. Fall 2012

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My new book,With Robert  Lowell and His Circle: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz, & Others is available now from the University Press of New EnglandThe book begins when I came to Boston in 1959 on a fellowship to study with Robert Lowell. He introduced me to the poets of his day, some of whom were in his workshop alongside me; Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, etc. The book looks at how these poets approached their work and how they managed to influence so many poets who are writing today. It also talks about Boston and New England and its great literary influence. It is mainly a book about becoming a writer and a dedication to writing.    

Here’s what the University Press of New England says about With Robert Lowell and His Circle: Sexton, Plath, Bishop, Adrienne Rich, Stanley Kunitz and others. 
“In 1959 Kathleen Spivack won a fellowship to study at Boston University with Robert Lowell. Her fellow students were Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, among others. Thus began a relationship with the famous poet and his circle that would last to the end of his life in 1977 and beyond. Spivack presents a lovingly rendered story of her time among some of the most esteemed artists of a generation. Part memoir, part loose collection of anecdotes, artistic considerations, and soulful yet clear-eyed reminiscences of a lost time and place, hers is an intimate portrait of the often suffering Lowell, the great and near great artists he attracted, his teaching methods, his private world, and the significant legacy he left to his students. Through the story of a youthful artist finding her poetic voice among literary giants, Spivack thoughtfully considers how poets work. She looks at friendships, addiction, despair, perseverance and survival, and how social changes altered lives and circumstances. This is a beautifully written portrait of friends who loved and lived words, and made great beauty together.

A touching and deeply revealing look into the lives and thoughts of some of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, With Robert Lowell and His Circle will appeal to writers, students, and thoughtful literary readers, as well as to scholars.”

Comments. “This book is absorbing and alive, human and compelling . . . the best memoir yet about Robert Lowell.” — Steven Gould Axelrod, University of California, Riverside

“A portrait [of Lowell] that serves to define his role as poet and teacher in fresh and significant ways . . . This is a memoir that will make an impact right away and that will be referred to by scholars, readers and biographers for many years to come.” — Thomas Travisano, Hartwick College
I devoured your book in one sitting last weekend; it’s extraordinarily evocative of the poet and his time, your time. Thank you so much for writing it.” — Don Share, Senior Editor, Poetry Magazine

“I couldn’t put the book down except to eat and sleep . . . a moving portrait of Lowell and a really valuable antidote to Hamilton’s view of constant breakdown and mania. . . ” — Barry Goldensohn, Skidmore College

“. . . Spivack records Lowell’s mix of generosity and obliviousness that endeared him to writer friends and students . . . . [Her] portrait offers a window on a man, a city, and a method for anyone not lucky enough to have taken part in those times.” — Valerie Duff, The Boston Globe

“. . . a passionate, unpretentious and carefully documented memoir in which the main character is not a poet–although the book is full of lively sketches of writers . . . –but the practice of poetry itself. We see the intensity and sheer everyday labor, with insight into the particular impact of the period on women writers.” — Elena Harap, Streetfeet


Please join me  for a celebration of the launch of this book, cosponsored by  The Harvard Bookstore and  the Grolier Poetry Bookshop, Harvard Square, Cambridge, Ma. on Sunday Dec.2, from 4-6pm. Your friends are welcome. Brief presentation and lots of refreshments. Looking forward to your presence!

Copyright Kathleen Spivack

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