Nothing here is simple. The Dolphin is the name of a book of unrhymed sonnets, published by Lowell in 1973, chronicling the end of his twenty-one-year marriage to Hardwick, the affair that precipitated its dissolution, and his new life with Blackwood. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1974. The title of this book—The Dolphin Letters—refers in part to the network of anguished correspondence from the period, including some famous letters about the poems in The Dolphin. But it also refers to a notorious and controversial feature of the original book: Lowell’s incorporation into his poems of quotations from Hardwick’s private letters—communication forged in distress during their separation and divorce.
Friday, January 24, 2020
… The Dolphin Letters | The Yale Review. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)