AMY LOWELL, American poet, born (d: 1925); Lowell was born into Boston’s prominent Lowell family. Her brother, Percival Lowell, was a famous astronomer who predicted the existence of the dwarf planet Pluto; another, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, served as President of Harvard University. She herself never attended college because it was not deemed proper for a woman by her family, but she compensated for this with her avid reading, which led to near-obsessive book-collecting. She lived as a socialite and traveled widely, turning to poetry in 1902 after being inspired by a performance of Eleanor Duse in Europe.
Her first published work appeared in 1910 in The Atlantic Monthly. The first published collection of her poetry, A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass, appeared two years later. Lowell was Lesbian, and in 1912 she and actress Ada Dwyer Russell, whom she called “Peter” were lovers. Russell was Lowell’s patron. Russell was the subject of her more erotic work.
The two women traveled to England together, where Lowell met Ezra Pound, who at once became a major influence and a major critic of her work. Lowell has been linked romantically to writer Mercedes de Acosta, but the only evidence that they knew each other at all is the brief correspondence between them about a memorial for Duse that never took place.
Acosta is said to have said that Lowell could spit a cigar tip into a spittoon fifteen feet away. Forgotten for years, there has been a resurgence of interest in her work, in part because of its focus on lesbian themes and her collection of love poems addressed to Ada Dwyer Russell, but also because of its extraordinary, almost frightening, ability to breathe life into inanimate objects, such as in The Green Bowl, The Red Lacquer Music Stand, and Patterns.