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The Dolphin: Two Versions, 1972-1973

The Dolphin: Two Versions, 1972-1973


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Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on December 10, 2019


The Dolphin: Two Versions, 1972-1973 is an expanded edition of the Pulitzer Prize–winning provocative poetry collection that crossed the line between art and life.

I have sat and listened to too many

words of the collaborating muse,

and plotted perhaps too freely with my life,

not avoiding injury to others,

not avoiding injury to myself—

to ask compassion . . . this book, half fiction,

an eelnet made by man for the eel fighting

my eyes have seen what my hand did.

Winner of the 1973 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, Robert Lowell’s The Dolphin was controversial from the beginning: many of the poems include letters from Robert Lowell’s wife, the celebrated writer and critic Elizabeth Hardwick, wrote to him after he left her for the English socialite and writer Caroline Blackwood. He was warned by many, among them Elizabeth Bishop, that “art just isn’t worth that much.”

Nevertheless, these poems are a powerful document of an impulsive love, and a moving record of Lowell’s change from one life and marriage in America to a new life on new terms with a new family in England, rendered with the stunning technical power and control for which he was so celebrated.

This new edition, which follows the 1973 edition, includes scans of the pages of Lowell’s original manuscript, giving us a look into the brilliant and complicated mind of one of our most beloved and distinguished poets.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374538279
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 12/10/2019
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Robert Lowell (1917–1977) was the renowned and controversial author of many books of poetry, including Day by Day (FSG, 1977), For the Union Dead (FSG, 1964), and Life Studies (FSG, 1959).

Saskia Hamilton is the author of several books of poetry, including Corridor, named one of the best poetry books of 2014 by The New Yorker and The New York Times Book Review. She is the editor of The Letters of Robert Lowell and coeditor of Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. She teaches at Barnard College.

Table of Contents




Redcliffe Square

1. Living in London

2. Window

3. America from Oxford, May 1970

4. Oxford

5. The Serpent

6. Symptoms

7. Diagnosis: To Caroline in Scotland


1. Shoes

2. Juvenilia

3. Rival

4. Stairwell

5. Walter Raleigh

6. Double-Vision

Hospital II

1. Voices

2. Letter

3. Old Snapshot from Venice 1952


1. Flashback to Washington Square 1966

2. Fragility

3. July-August

4. Marriage?

5. Morning Blue

Summer Between Terms 1–2

Fall Weekend at Milgate 1–3


In Harriet’s Yearbook



Mermaid 1–5

The Mermaid Children


The Friend

In the Mail


1. Draw

2. Pointing the Horns of the Dilemma

3. Critic

Winter and London

1. Closed Sky

2. At Offado’s

3. Flounder

4. Mastodon

5. Freud

6. Harriet’s Donkey

During a Transatlantic Call

Exorcism 1–2


The Couple

Before Woman

1. Before the Dawn of Woman

2. Day

Artist’s Model 1–4

Mermaid Emerging


1. Angling

2. Tired Iron

3. Gruff

4. Leaf-Lace Dress

5. Knowing

6. Gold Lull

7. Green Sore

8. Letter

9. Heavy Breathing

10. Late Summer at Milgate

11. Ninth Month

12. Question

13. Robert Sheridan Lowell

14. Overhanging Cloud

15. Careless Night

16. Morning Away from You

Another Summer

1. Wildrose

2. Dolphins

3. Ivana

4. Alimony

5. The New

Leaving America for England

1. America

2. Lost Fish

3. Truth

4. No Telling

5. Sick

6. Facing Oneself


On the End of the Phone

Cars, Walking, etc., an Unmailed Letter

Flight to New York

1. Plane-Ticket

2. With Caroline at the Air-Terminal

3. Purgatory

4. Flight

5. New York Again

6. No Messiah

7. Death and the Maiden

8. New York

9. Sleepless

10. New York

11. Christmas

12. Christmas