Helen Vendler, the writer of this review – is such an authority, I hesitate to add my own words.
But I must, for two reasons.
(1) I once had a beautiful, but crazy wife – who thought she could write poetry. She thought she could do anything, in fact – but her poetry was garbage.
(2) I once lived with a family whose husband was manic-depressive (the same as Robert Lowell). He wouldn’t take his lithium, that keep his condition under control – because being normal was too boring. I left the family on an extended backpacking trip. When I returned, the husband had crashed. But he was lucky, his employer was the city we lived in – and they gave him time off to recover. But they lost their house and all their belongings.
All the wife had to do was report his refusal to take his medicine to the VA hospital he was with – but she did not! Their little girl would suffer because of this.
There is nothing artistic in mental illness. And I can see little in his poetry – that I downloaded as a Kindle book.