Robert Lowell/Skunk Hour
A 7 page explication of Robert Lowell's poem "Skunk Hour," which was written in 1959 and describes Lowell's impressions of a Maine sea town (Lowell 131). At the beginning of the poem, that is, the first four stanzas, Lowell describes a sterile, decaying setting, which he tries to lighten with a "tone of tolerance, humor and randomness at the sad prospect" (Lowell 131). However, even in this section of the poem, Lowell's perspective drifts as it "sinks out of sight into the causal, chancy arrangements of nature and decay" (Lowell 131). Then, in the later half of the poem, i.e., the last four stanzas, Lowell's tone dramatically changes as he describes the "dark night" of his soul, which is not "gracious, but secular, puritan and agnostical. An Existentialist night" (Lowell 132). A close reading of this poem demonstrates the accuracy of Lowell's personal assessment of his poem's meaning. Bibliography lists 5 sources.