Robert Lowell Collected Poems
Fallen Nests: An Exploration of Personal and Political Realities in Fall 1961
Robert Lowell's Fall 1961 crystallizes in words the sense of nuclear paranoia that lurked in both private and public spheres of the United States during the Cold War. From a dark, personal perspective the poem takes an unsettling look into the unease of the individual during this time. Despite its egocentric perspective, however, Lowell allows the poem to make vague allusions to the greater political situation surrounding the nuclear threat. Through these allusions he frames the individual experience of the poem's speaker in a greater political context. Like the hazy background of a watercolor painting, this backdrop is indistinct compared to the crisp individual presented in the foreground of his work, but nonetheless its presence contributes to the lurking weight of nuclear paranoia that gives the poem its ambience of ominousness and uncertainty.
The movement of the poem is fairly arrhythmic, with sporadic and unpredictable rhyming. The effect is a deliberate awkwardness in its sound and the creation of a feeling of anticipation as the reader waits for the each possible rhyme to deliver. In this way the form of the poem captures the unease of the individual and society as a whole during its time setting and plays on the...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 725 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4184 literature essays, 1403 sample college application essays, 171 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in