Sunday, January 7, 2018

You Glow in my Heart like the Flames of Uncounted Candles

You Glow in my Heart like the Flames of
Uncounted Candles, 2017 
Cement, wood, plywood, paper, acrylic, oil, watercolour 
136 x 45 x 36 

Spring Day

In March 1912, six months before her first book of poems was published, Amy Lowell met Ada Dwyer Russell, a formerly prominent stage actress who was separated from her husband. During the next two years, the pair became intimate companions, and they lived together at Sevenels, the Lowell family mansion in Brookline, Massachusetts, for the rest of Lowell’s life. “Ada took on the household of Sevenels,” summarizes Honor Moore, “releasing Amy further to her poetry. . . . To Amy’s friends and correspondents, Ada was affectionately ‘Mrs. Russell’—to Amy, she was ‘Peter,’ becoming so integral to the life of her writing that Amy imagined for the Sevenels driveway a sign saying ‘Lowell and Russell, Makers of Fine Poems.’”
Russell also coached and managed Lowell’s public readings. “The term readings, however, does not adequately describe the way she presented her poems: these were theatrical events,” explains literary scholar Melissa Bradshaw. In one of his own poems John Brooks Wheelwright called Lowell “the Biggest Traveling One-Man Show since Buffalo Bill caught the Midnight Flyer to Contact Mark Twain.” When she finished a poem, the audience often didn’t know what to do, and she would just as often demand, “Well?—Clap or hiss, I don't care which; but for Christ’s sake do something.”