"In the indecision and chaos of the political scene, Lowell found so much to look at that he grasped at a new opportunity of style, presenting himself neither as prophet nor as sinner but as a journalist engaged in slapdash coverage. In scanning America - 'America with a capital A' as he called it to V.S. Naipaul in 1969, he once again came up against his old antagonist - epic size - with which the lyric has always been manifestly uneasy. 'It's beyond any country, it's an empire. I feel very bitter about it, but pious, and baffled by it.' The poems in Notebook record that historical and political bitterness and bafflement, but they put it (as had 'Life Studies' its personal historical fragments) in the context of the poet's own day-to-day inner life. "

{ Helen Vendler, The Given and the Made: Recent American Poets, Faber & Faber, 1995 }

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