Friends and colleagues of the late poet Robert T.S. Lowell Jr. '39 held a memorial service at Memorial Church yesterday.
The service for Lowell, who died last September, was part of a two-day observance of his birthday. Lowell, who was the Emerson Lecturer on English Literature, would have been 61 on Wednesday
Yesterday's service included reminiscences and readings from Lowell's poems by members of the English Department. The Rev. Peter Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals, opened the service. "The dead have no need for the living but the living have great need for the dead," he said.
W. Jackson Bate '39, Lowell Professor of the Humanities, read passages from the Bible, noting the Lowell had taught a class on the King James Version.
Robert S. Fitzgerald '33, Boylston Professor of Rhetoric, and David Perkins '51, Marquand Professor of English and American Literature, spoke about their friendships with Lowell. Perkins read from Lowell's poem, "For the Union Dead."
Lowell won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1947 after completing "The Land of Unlikelyness" and "Lord Weary's Castle." He attended Harvard College from 1935 to 1937 and graduated from Kenyon College in 1940.
He started teaching poetry here in 1963. In 1966, the University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Letters