Robert Creeley

1926–2005
Robert Creeley

Once known primarily for his association with the group called the “Black Mountain Poets,” at the time of his death in 2005, Robert Creeley was widely recognized as one of the most important and influential American poets of the twentieth century. His poetry is noted for both its concision and emotional power. Albert Mobilio, writing in the Voice Literary Supplement, observed: “Creeley has shaped his own audience. The much imitated, often diluted minimalism, the compression of emotion into verse in which scarcely a syllable is wasted, has decisively marked a generation of poets.”

Creeley was born in Arlington, Massachusetts in 1926. When his father died in 1930, he was raised by his mother and sister in Acton. An accident when he was four left him blind in one eye. He attended Holderness School in Plymouth, New Hampshire, on a scholarship, and his articles and stories appeared regularly in the school’s literary magazine. Creeley was admitted to Harvard in 1943, but admitted later that he had felt discouraged by “the sardonic stance of my elders.” He left Harvard to serve in the American Field Service in 1944 and 1945, and drove an ambulance in India and South-East Asia. Creeley returned to Harvard after the war, though he never graduated. He later received an MA from the University of New Mexico. He began corresponding with William Carlos Williams, who seems to have put him in touch with Charles Olson, a poet who was to have a substantial influence on the direction of his future work. Excited especially by Olson’s ideas about literature, Creeley began to develop a distinctive and unique poetic style.

Throughout the 1950s, Creeley was associated with the “Black Mountain Poets,” a group of writers including Denise Levertov, Ed Dorn, Fielding Dawson, and others who had some connection with Black Mountain College, an experimental, communal college in North Carolina that was a haven for many innovative writers and artists of the period. Creeley edited the Black Mountain Review and developed a close and lasting relationship with Olson, who was the rector of the college. The two engaged in a lengthy, intensive correspondence about literary matters that has been collected and published in ten volumes as Charles Olson and Robert Creeley: The Complete Correspondence (Volume 1, 1980). Olson and Creeley together developed the concept of “projective verse,” a kind of poetry that abandoned traditional forms in favor of a freely constructed verse that took shape as the process of composing it was underway. Olson called this process “composition by field,” and his famous essay on the subject, “Projective Verse,” was as important for the poets of the emerging generation as T. S. Eliot’s “Tradition and the Individual Talent” was to the poets of the previous generation. Olson credited Creeley with formulating one of the basic principles of this new poetry: the idea that “form is never more than an extension of content.”

Creeley was a leader in the generational shift that veered away from history and tradition as primary poetic sources and gave new prominence to the ongoing experiences of an individual’s life. Because of this emphasis, the major events of his life loom large in his literary work. Creeley’s marriage to Ann MacKinnon ended in divorce in 1955. The breakup of that relationship is chronicled in fictional form in his only novel, The Island (1963), which drew upon his experiences on the island of Mallorca, off the coast of Spain, where he lived with MacKinnon and their three children in 1953 and 1954. After the divorce Creeley returned to Black Mountain College for a brief time before moving west. He was in San Francisco during the flowering of the “San Francisco Poetry Renaissance” and became associated for a time with the writers of the Beat Generation: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Michael McClure, and others. His work appeared in the influential anthology The New American Poetry: 1945-1960 (1960), edited by Donald Allen.

In 1956 Creeley accepted a teaching position at a boys’ school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he met his second wife, Bobbie Louise Hall. Though Creeley published poetry and fiction throughout the 1950s and 1960s and had even established his own imprint, the Divers Press, in 1952, his work did not receive important national recognition until Scribner published his first major collection, For Love: Poems 1950-1960, in 1962. This book collected work that he had been issuing in small editions and magazines during the previous decade. When For Love debuted, Mobilio wrote, “it was recognized at once as a pivotal contribution to the alternative poetics reshaping the American tradition. . . . The muted, delicately contrived lyrics . . . were personal and self-contained; while they drew their life from the everyday, their techniques of dislocation sprang from the mind’s naturally stumbled syntax.”

The very first poem in For Love, “Hart Crane,” with its unorthodox, Williams-like line breaks, its nearly hidden internal rhymes, and its subtle assonance and sibilance, announces the Creeley style—a style defined by an intense concentration on the sounds and rhythms of language as well as the placement of the words on the page. In a piece for the London Review of Books, Stephen Burt wrote that “We recognise Creeley’s poems first by what they leave out: he uses few long or rare words, no regular metres and almost no metaphors,” and, noting how little that style changed, “Creeley kept for five decades a way of writing whose markers include parsimonious diction, strong enjambment, two to four-line stanzas and occasional rhyme. What changed over his career was not his language but the use he made of it, the attitudes and goals around which the small, clear crystals of his verse might form.”

Though For Love and Words (1967) both received critical acclaim, by the late ‘60s Creeley was already abandoning the spare style which had made him famous. In Pieces, A Day Book, Thirty Things, and Hello: A Journal, February 29-May 3, 1976, all published between 1968 and 1978, Creeley attempts to break down the concept of a “single poem” by offering his readers sequential, associated fragments of poems with indeterminate beginnings and endings. All of these works are energized by the same heightened attention to the present that characterizes Creeley’s earlier work, and many of the poems in Hello (1976) refer to the last days of Creeley’s relationship with his second wife, Bobbie. That marriage ended in divorce in 1976, the same year he met Penelope Highton, his third wife, while traveling in New Zealand. For all of Creeley’s experimentation, he has always been in some ways an exceedingly domestic poet; his mother, children, wives, and close friends are the subjects of his best work. Because Creeley’s second marriage lasted nearly twenty years, the sense of a major chunk of his life drifting away from him is very strong in Hello. Creeley here conveys the traumatic emotional state that almost always accompanies the breakup of long-term relationships.

Creeley’s next major collection, Later (1979), is characterized by a greater emphasis on memory, a new sense of life’s discrete phases, and an intense preoccupation with aging. In “Myself,” the first poem in Later, he writes: “I want, if older, / still to know / why, human, men / and women are / so torn, so lost / why hopes cannot / find a better world / than this.” This futile but deeply human quest captures the spirit of Creeley’s later work. It embodies a commonly shared realization: one becomes older but still knows very little about essential aspects of life, particularly the mysteries of human relationships. The ten-part title poem was written over a period of ten days in September of 1977. The poem begins by evoking lost youth—youth, in later life, can only become a palpable part of the present through the power of memory—and presents a kaleidoscopic view of Creeley’s life, both past and present: a lost childhood dog and memories of his mother, friends and neighbors are all mapped onto the poetry he is composing in an attic room in Buffalo, September, 1977.

The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1945-1975 was published in 1982. The poems Creeley wrote in the last decades of his life increasingly remember and reflect on memory and the past. As Stephen Burt described them: “The later poems are more traditional than their predecessors, in their sounds and in their goals. They rhyme more often. They have recognisable closure. Few are so short as to pose conceptual puzzles about what a poem is. When they are bad they are prosy or repetitive, not insubstantial or nonsensical. They never sound like Olson (much less like Ginsberg), and at their best they recall Thomas Hardy: they are, in the end, mostly poems of old age.” Life and Death (1998) examines the poet’s increasing age and mortality. Reviewing the book, Forrest Gander acknowledged Creeley’s lasting importance to American poetry: “Robert Creeley has forged a signature style in American poetry, an idiosyncratic, highly elliptical, syntactical compression by which the character of his mind’s concentrated and stumbling proposals might be expressed . . . Reading his poems, we experience the gnash of arriving through feeling at thought and word.”

Creeley was a prolific poet, even late in life: the volumes after Life and Death came in regular succession, including Loops: Ten Poems (1995); Ligeia: A Libretto (1996); So There: Poems 1976-83 (1998); En Famille: A Poem by Robert Creeley (1999); Thinking(2000); Just In Time: Poems, 1984-1994 (2001); and If I Were Writing This (2003). R. D. Pohl in the Buffalo News, praised If I Were Writing This, declaring that it “contains some of the starkest and most memorable poems Creeley has written.” Pohl and a Publishers Weekly reviewer both saw If I Were Writing This as a companion volume to Life and Death, each of them “composed primarily of poems dedicated to family and friends (dead and living), collaborative verses, and such poems as ‘For You’ in which intimacy of tone coincides with cryptic, lyrical abstraction.” Pohl noted that If I Were Writing This is the first major volume to appear since Creeley joined the ranks of such poetic giants as Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens and John Ashbery by winning the prestigious Yale University Bollingen Prize in 1999. He continued: “The fragility of our common experience in language and the world resonates through every line of Creeley’s recent work.”

Creeley also wrote a considerable amount of prose and was editor of a number of volumes, including Best American Poetry 2002. Creeley’s prose includes a novel, essays, and short stories, as well as a play, collected letters, and an autobiography, published in 1990. Creeley taught for over 30 years at the State University of New York-Buffalo, helping to turn its English and Poetics program into one of the most famous havens for avant-garde writing in the world. In 2003 he was appointed distinguished professor of English at Brown University. In an appreciation of Creeley written for the Poetry Project Newsletter, Peter Gizzi said, “He was a devoted teacher, undeterred by the persistent critique of the role of poets in universities. Conversely, on the Black Mountain model, he was more interested in bending institutions to support poetry. That was one of his labors.Also noted for his enthusiastic support of other poets, Robert Creeley served as a mentor and friend to many, many poets. Charles Bernstein, a colleague of Creeley’s at SUNY-Buffalo wrote in the Brooklyn Rail: “So many poets had an intimate relation with Creeley; he had a way of connecting with each of us in particular and, through that connection with him, to a company of poets in the U.S. and around the world.”Creeley died in 2005 in Odessa, Texas, of complications resulting from lung disease. He had been completing a residency for the Lannan Foundation in Marfa, Texas.

Don Byrd quoted him in Contemporary Poets: “I write to realize the world as one has come to live in it, thus to give testament. I write to move in words, a human delight. I write when no other act is possible.” Asked about “good” poems, Creeley, who had written in the introduction to Best American Poetry 2002 that the poem is “that place we are finally safe in” where “understanding is not a requirement. You don’t have to know why. Being there is the one requirement,” responded, “If one only wrote ‘good’ poems, what a dreary world it would be.”

 

(Biography updated by the Poetry Foundation, 2009)

Career

Poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, and editor. Divers Press, Palma, Mallorca, Spain, founder and publisher, 1950-54; Black Mountain College, Black Mountain, NC, instructor in English, 1954-55; instructor at school for young boys, Albuquerque, NM, beginning 1956; University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, instructor in English, 1961-62, lecturer, 1963-66, visiting professor, 1968-69 and 1978-80; University of British Columbia, Vancouver, instructor in English, 1962-63; University of New Mexico, visiting lecturer, 1961-62, lecturer in English, 1963-66, visiting professor, 1968-69, 1979, 1980-81; State University of New York at Buffalo, visiting professor, 1966-67, professor of English, 1967-78, David Gray Professor of Poetry and Letters, 1978-89, University of New York at Buffalo, Samuel P. Capen Professor of Poetry and Humanities, 1989-2003, director of poetics program, 1991-92; distinguished professor of English for the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Brown University, 2003—. San Francisco State College, visiting lecturer in creative writing, 1970-71; State University of New York at Binghamton, visiting professor, 1985 and 1986. Bicentennial chair of American studies at University of Helsinki, Finland, 1988. New York State Poet, 1989. Participated in numerous poetry readings and writers' conferences. Wartime service: American Field Service, India and Burma, 1944-45.

Bibliography

POETRY

  • Le Fou, Golden Goose Press, 1952.
  • The Kind of Act Of, Divers Press (Mallorca, Spain), 1953.
  • The Immoral Proposition, Jonathan Williams, 1953.
  • A Snarling Garland of Xmas Verse (published anonymously), Divers Press (Mallorca, Spain), 1954.
  • All That Is Lovely in Men, Jonathan Williams (Asheville, NC), 1955.
  • (With others) Ferrin and Others, Gerhardt (Germany), 1955.
  • If You, Porpoise Bookshop (San Francisco, CA), 1956.
  • The Whip, Migrant Books, 1957.
  • A Form of Women, Jargon Books (New York, NY), 1959.
  • For Love: Poems, 1950-1960, Scribner (New York, NY), 1962.
  • Distance, Terrence Williams, 1964.
  • Mister Blue, Insel-Verlag, 1964.
  • Two Poems, Oyez, 1964.
  • Hi There!, Finial Press, 1965.
  • Words (eight poems), Perishable Press, 1965.
  • Poems, 1950-1965, Calder & Boyars (London, England), 1966.
  • About Women, Gemini, 1966.
  • For Joel, Perishable Press, 1966.
  • A Sight, Cape Coliard Press, 1967.
  • Words (eighty-four poems), Scribner (New York, NY), 1967.
  • Robert Creeley Reads (with recording), Turret Books, 1967.
  • The Finger, Black Sparrow Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 1968, enlarged edition published as The Finger Poems, 1966-1969, Calder & Boyars (London, England), 1970.
  • 5 Numbers (five poems), Poets Press (New York, NY), 1968, published as Numbers (text in English and German), translation by Klaus Reichert, Galerie Schmela (Dusseldorf, Germany), 1968.
  • The Charm: Early and Collected Poems, Perishable Press, 1968, expanded edition published as The Charm, Four Seasons Foundation (San Francisco, CA), 1969.
  • Divisions and Other Early Poems, Perishable Press, 1968.
  • Pieces (fourteen poems), Black Sparrow Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 1968.
  • The Boy (poem poster), Gallery Upstairs Press, 1968.
  • Mazatlan: Sea, Poets Press (New York, NY), 1969.
  • Pieces (seventy-two poems), Scribner (New York, NY), 1969.
  • Hero, Indianakatz (New York, NY), 1969.
  • A Wall, Bouwerie Editions (New York, NY), 1969.
  • For Betsy and Tom, Alternative Press, 1970.
  • For Benny and Sabrina, Samuel Charters, 1970.
  • America, Press of the Black Flag, 1970.
  • In London, Angel Hair Books, 1970.
  • Christmas: May 10, 1970, Lockwood Memorial Library, State University of New York at Buffalo (Buffalo, NY), 1970.
  • St. Martin's, Black Sparrow Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 1971.
  • 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-0, drawings by Arthur Okamura, Shambhala (New York, NY), 1971.
  • Sea, Cranium Press, 1971.
  • For the Graduation, Cranium Press, 1971.
  • Change, Hermes Free Press, 1972.
  • One Day after Another, Alternative Press, 1972.
  • For My Mother: Genevieve Jules Creeley, 8 April 1887-7 October 1972 (limited edition), Sceptre Press (London, England), 1973.
  • His Idea, Coach House Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1973.
  • The Class of '47, Bouwerie Editions (New York, NY), 1973.
  • Kitchen, Wine Press, 1973.
  • Sitting Here, University of Connecticut Library, 1974.
  • Thirty Things, Black Sparrow Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 1974.
  • Backwards, Sceptre Press (London, England), 1975.
  • Hello, Hawk Press (Christchurch, New Zealand), 1976, expanded edition published as Hello: A Journal, February 29-May 3, 1976, New Directions (New York, NY), 1978.
  • Away, Black Sparrow Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 1976.
  • Presences (also see below), Scribner (New York, NY), 1976.
  • Selected Poems, Scribner (New York, NY), 1976, revised edition, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1991.
  • Myself, Sceptre Press (London, England), 1977.
  • Later, Toothpaste (West Branch, IA), 1978, expanded edition, New Directions (New York, NY), 1979.
  • Desultory Days, Sceptre Press (London, England), 1979.
  • Corn Close, Sceptre Press (London, England), 1980.
  • Mother As Voice, Am Here Books/Immediate Editions, 1981.
  • The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1945-1975, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1982.
  • Echoes, Toothpaste (West Branch, IA), 1982, New Directions (New York, NY), 1994.
  • Going On: Selected Poems, 1958-1980, Dutton (New York, NY), 1983.
  • Mirrors, New Directions (New York, NY), 1983.
  • A Calendar: Twelve Poems, Coffee House Press (West Branch, IA), 1984.
  • The Collected Prose of Robert Creeley, Scribner (New York, NY), 1984.
  • Memories, Pig Press, 1984.
  • Memory Gardens, New Directions (New York, NY), 1986.
  • The Company, Burning Deck, 1988.
  • Window, edited by Richard Blevins, State University of New York at Buffalo (Buffalo, NY), 1988.
  • (With Libby Larsen) A Creeley Collection: For Mixed Voices, Solo Tenor, Flute, Percussion, and Piano, E. C. Schirmer, 1989.
  • (With Francesco Clemente) 64 Pastels, Bruno Bischofberger, 1989.
  • Places, Shuffaloff Press, 1990.
  • Windows, New Directions (New York, NY), 1990.
  • Have a Heart, Limberlost Press, 1990.
  • Selected Poems, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1991.
  • The Old Days, Ambrosia Press, 1991.
  • Gnomic Verses, Zasterle Press, 1991.
  • A Poetry Anthology, Edmundson Art Foundation, 1992.
  • Life and Death, Grenfell Press, 1993, New Directions (New York, NY), 1998.
  • Loops: Ten Poems, Nadja, 1995.
  • Ligeia: A Libretto, Granary Books, 1996.
  • So There: Poems 1976-83, New Directions (New York, NY), 1998.
  • En Famille: A Poem by Robert Creeley, Granary Books, 1999.
  • (With Alex Katz) Edges, Peter Blum, 1999.
  • (With Max Gimblett and Alan Loney) The Dogs of Auckland, Holloway Press, 1998.
  • (With John Millei) Personal: Poems, Peter Koch, 1998.
  • (With Daisy DeCapite) Cambridge, Mass 1944, Boog Literature, 2000.
  • Thinking, Z Press, 2000.
  • Clemente's Images, Backwoods Broadsides, 2000.
  • For Friends, Drive He Sd Books, 2000.
  • (With Archie Rand, illustrations) Drawn and Quartered, Distributed Art Publishers, 2001.
  • Just In Time: Poems, 1984-1994, New Directions (New York, NY), 2001.
  • Collected Poems of Robert Creeley 1975-2005, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2006.
  • Selected Poems 1945-2005, edited by Benjamin Friedlander, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2008.

EDITOR

  • Charles Olson, Mayan Letters, Divers Press (Mallorca, Spain), 1953.
  • (With Donald M. Allen, and contributor) New American Story, Grove (New York, NY), 1965, reprinted 2001.
  • (And author of introduction) Charles Olson, Selected Writings, New Directions (New York, NY), 1966.
  • (With Donald Allen, and contributor) The New Writing in the U.S.A., Penguin (New York, NY), 1967.
  • Whitman: Selected Poems, Penguin (New York, NY), 1973.
  • (And contributor) The Essential Burns, Ecco Press (New York, NY), 1989.
  • Tim Prythero, Peters Corporation, 1990.
  • Olson, Selected Poems, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1993.
  • (With David Lehman) The Best American Poetry 2002, Scribner (New York, NY), 2002.

PROSE

  • The Gold Diggers (short stories), Divers Press (Mallorca, Spain), 1954, expanded edition published as The Gold Diggers and Other Stories, J. Calder, 1965.
  • The Island (novel), Scribner (New York, NY), 1963.
  • A Day Book (poems and prose), Scribner (New York, NY), 1972.
  • Mabel: A Story, and Other Prose (includes A Day Book and Presences), Calder & Boyars (London, England), 1976.
  • Collected Prose, Marion Boyars (New York, NY), 1984, corrected edition, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1988, Dalkey Archive Press (Chicago, IL), 2001.

NONFICTION

  • An American Sense (essay), Sigma Press, 1965.
  • A Quick Graph: Collected Notes and Essays, edited by Donald M. Allen, Four Seasons Foundation (San Francisco, CA), 1970.
  • Notebook, Bouwerie Editions (New York, NY), 1972.
  • A Sense of Measure (essays), Calder & Boyars (London, England), 1972.
  • Inside Out (lecture), Black Sparrow Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 1973.
  • The Creative (lecture), Black Sparrow Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 1973.
  • Was That a Real Poem and Other Essays, Four Seasons Foundation (San Francisco, CA), 1979.
  • Collected Essays, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1989.
  • Autobiography, Hanuman Books, 1990.
  • Day Book of a Virtual Poet (essays), Spuyten Duyvil (New York, NY), 1998.

OTHER

  • Listen (play; produced in London, 1972), Black Sparrow Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 1972.
  • Contexts of Poetry: Interviews, 1961-1971, Four Seasons Foundation (San Francisco, CA), 1973.
  • Charles Olson and Robert Creeley: The Complete Correspondence, ten volumes, edited by George F. Butterick, Black Sparrow Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 1980-96.
  • Jane Hammond, Exit Art, 1989.
  • Irving Layton and Robert Creeley: The Complete Correspondence, edited by Ekbert Faas and Sabrina Reed, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1990.
  • Tales out of School: Selected Interviews, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1993.
  • Robert Creeley, reading with jazz musicians David Cast, Chris Massey, Steve Swallow, and David Torn accompanying, Cuneiform Records, 1998.
  • (Author of foreword) The Turning, Hilda Morley, Asphodel Press, 1998.
  • (With Elizabeth Licata and Amy Cappellazzo) In Company: Robert Creeley's Collaborations (from a traveling art show), University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 1999.
  • (Contributor; with others) Susan Rothenberg: Paintings from the Nineties, Rizzoli International (New York, NY), 2000.

Work represented in numerous anthologies, including The New American Poetry: 1945-1960, edited by Donald Allen, Grove (New York, NY), 1960; A Controversy of Poets, edited by Paris Leary and Robert Kelly, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1965; Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, edited by Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, Norton (New York, NY), 1973; The New Oxford Book of American Verse, edited by Richard Ellmann, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1976; and Poets' Encyclopedia, edited by Michael Andre, Unmuzzled Ox Press, 1980. Contributor to literary periodicals, including Paris Review, Nation, Black Mountain Review, Origin, Yugen, and Big Table. Founder and editor, Black Mountain Review, 1954-57; advisory editor, Sagetrieb, 1983—; advisory editor, American Book Review, 1983—; contributing editor, Formations, 1984—; and advisory editor, New York Quarterly, 1984—. The major collection of Creeley's manuscripts and correspondence is housed in Special Collections, Stanford University, Stanford, CA. Other collections include the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of the Yale University Library, New Haven, CT (correspondence with William Carlos Williams), Humanities Research Center, University of Texas Libraries, Austin (correspondence with Ezra Pound), John M. Olin Library, Washington University, St. Louis, MO (manuscripts and correspondence predating 1965), Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington (manuscripts and correspondence with Cid Corman), Simon Fraser University Library, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada (correspondence with Richard Emerson), and University of Connecticut Library, Storrs (correspondence with Charles Olson).

Further Reading

BOOKS

  • Allen, Donald M., editor, Robert Creeley, Contexts of Poetry: Interviews, 1961-1971, Four Seasons Foundation (San Francisco, CA), 1973.
  • Altieri, Charles, Self and Sensibility in Contemporary American Poetry, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1984.
  • Butterick, George F., editor, Charles Olson and Robert Creeley: The Complete Correspondence, Black Sparrow Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 1980.
  • Clark, Tom, Robert Creeley and the Genius of the American Common Place: Together with the Poet's Own Autobiography, New Directions (New York, NY), 1993.
  • Conniff, Brian, The Lyric and Modern Poetry: Olson, Creeley, Bunting, Peter Lang (New York, NY), 1988.
  • Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series, Volume 10, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1989.
  • Contemporary Literary Criticism, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 1, 1973, Volume 2, 1974, Volume 4, 1975, Volume 8, 1978, Volume 11, 1979, Volume 15, 1980, Volume 36, 1986.
  • Contemporary Poets, 5th edition, edited by Tracy Chevalier, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1991.
  • Corman, Cid, editor, The Gist of Origin, Viking (New York, NY), 1975.
  • Creeley, Robert, Hello, Hawk Press (Christchurch, New Zealand), 1978.
  • Creeley, Robert, Later, Toothpaste (West Branch, IA), 1978.
  • Creeley, Robert, If I Were Writing This, New Directions (New York, NY), 2003.
  • Edelberg, Cynthia Dubin, Robert Creeley's Poetry: A Critical Introduction, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1978.
  • Faas, Ekbert, and Sabrina Reed, editors, Irving Layton and Robert Creeley: The Complete Correspondence, 1953-1978, McGill-Queen's University Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1990.
  • Faas, Ekbert, and Maria Trombaco, Robert Creeley: A Biography, University Press of New England (Hanover, NH), 2001.
  • Ford, Arthur L., Robert Creeley, Twayne (Boston, MA), 1978.
  • Foster, Edward Halsey, Understanding the Black Mountain Poets, University of South Carolina Press (Columbia, SC), 1995.
  • Fox, Willard, Robert Creeley, Edward Dorn, and Robert Duncan: A Reference Guide. G. K. Hall (Boston, MA), 1989.
  • Fredman, Stephen, Poet's Prose: The Crisis in American Verse, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1983.
  • Giger, Esther, and Agnieszka Salska, editors, Freedom and Form: Essays in Contemporary American Poetry. Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Lódzkiego (Lódz, Poland), 1998.
  • Gwynn, R. S., editor, New Expansive Poetry: Theory, Criticism, History, Story Line (Ashland, OR), 1999.
  • Novik, Mary, Robert Creeley: An Inventory, 1945-1970, Kent State University Press (Kent, OH), 1973.
  • Oberg, Arthur, Modern American Lyric: Lowell, Berryman, Creeley, and Plath, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ), 1977.
  • Paul, Sherman, The Lost America of Love: Rereading Robert Creeley, Edward Dorn, and Robert Duncan, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 1981.
  • Rifkin, Libbie, Career Moves: Olson, Creeley, Zukofsky, Berrigan, and the American Avant-Garde, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 2000.
  • Roberts, Neil, editor, A Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry, Blackwell (Oxford, England), 2001.
  • Sheffler, Ronald Anthony, The Development of Robert Creeley's Poetry, University of Massachusetts (Amherst, MA), 1971.
  • Tallman, Allen and Warren, editors, The Poetics of the New American Poetry, Grove (New York, NY), 1973.
  • Tallman, Warren, Three Essays on Creeley, Coach House Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1973.
  • Terrell, Carroll F., Robert Creeley: The Poet's Workshop, University of Maine Press (Orono, ME), 1984.
  • Von Hallberg, Robert, American Poetry and Culture, 1945-80, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1985.
  • Wilson, John, editor, Robert Creeley's Life and Work: A Sense of Increment, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1987.

PERIODICALS

  • American Book Review, May-June, 1984.
  • American Poetry Review, November-December, 1976; May-June, 1997, p. 9; September-October, 1999, p. 17.
  • Atlantic Monthly, November, 1962; February, 1968; October, 1977.
  • Books Abroad, autumn, 1967.
  • Boundary 2, spring, 1975; spring and fall (special two-volume issue on Creeley), 1978.
  • Buffalo News, February 25, 1996, p. E1; February 7, 1999, p. E6; March 24, 2000, p. G18; September 7, 2003, p. G5.
  • Cambridge Quarterly, 1998, p. 87.
  • Christian Science Monitor, October 9, 1969.
  • Chronicle of Higher Education, November 1, 1996, p. B10.
  • Contemporary Literature, spring, 1972; fall, 1995, p. 79.
  • Cortland Review, April, 1998.
  • Critique, spring, 1964.
  • Denver Quarterly, winter 1997, p. 82.
  • ebr: The Alt-X Web Review, spring, 1999.
  • Encounter, February, 1969.
  • English: The Journal of the English Association, summer, 2001, p. 127.
  • Gentleman's Quarterly, June, 1996, p. 74.
  • Harper's, August, 1967; September, 1983.
  • Hudson Review, summer, 1963; summer, 1967; spring, 1970; summer, 1977.
  • Iowa Review, spring, 1982.
  • Journal News (Westchester, NY), August 31, 2003, p. 4E.
  • Journal of American Studies, August 1998, p. 263.
  • Kenyon Review, spring, 1970.
  • Library Journal, September 1, 1979; April 15, 1994, p. 81; April 1, 1997, p. 94; April 1, 1999, p, 95.
  • Listener, March 23, 1967.
  • London Magazine, June-July, 1973.
  • Los Angeles Times Book Review, April 17, 1983; October 30, 1983; March 4, 1984; June 24, 1984; June 23, 1991, p. 8.
  • Modern Language Quarterly, December, 1982, p. 369.
  • Modern Poetry Studies, winter, 1977.
  • Nation, August 25, 1962.
  • National Observer, October 30, 1967.
  • National Review, November 19, 1960.
  • New Leader, October 27, 1969.
  • New Orleans Review, spring, 1992, p. 14.
  • New Republic, October 11, 1969; December 18, 1976.
  • New Statesman, August 6, 1965; March 10, 1987.
  • New York Review of Books, January 20, 1966; August 1, 1968.
  • New York Times, June 27, 1967.
  • New York Times Book Review, November 4, 1962; September 22, 1963; November 19, 1967; October 27, 1968; January 7, 1973; May 1, 1977; March 9, 1980; August 7, 1983; June 24, 1984; September 23, 1984; November 3, 1991, p. 14.
  • North Dakota Quarterly, fall, 1987, p. 89.
  • Northwest Review, 2000, p. 102.
  • Observer (London, England), September 6, 1970.
  • Paris Review, fall, 1968.
  • Parnassus, fall-winter, 1984.
  • Partisan Review, summer, 1968.
  • Plain Dealer, September 29, 2002, p. J9.
  • Poetry, March, 1954; May, 1958; September, 1958; March, 1963; April, 1964; August, 1966; January, 1968; March, 1968; August, 1968; May, 1970; December, 1970; September, 1984.
  • Publishers Weekly, March 18, 1968; March 28, 1994; March 30, 1998, p. 77; September 24, 2001, p. 91; July 22, 2002, p. 170; September 1, 2003.
  • Review of Contemporary Fiction, fall, 1995, pp. 79, 82, 97, 107, 110, 116, 120, 127, 137, 141.
  • Sagetrieb: A Journal Devoted to Poets in the Imagist/Objectivist Tradition, winter, 1982 (special issue); fall, 1988, p. 53; spring-fall, 1991, p. 209 (bibliog.); spring, 1999, pp. 131, 149.
  • San Francisco Chronicle, April 12, 1998, p. 12.
  • Saturday Review, August 4, 1962; December 11, 1965; June 3, 1967.
  • Seattle Times, October 6, 2002, p. L9.
  • Sewanee Review, winter, 1961.
  • Southwest Review, winter, 1964.
  • Talisman: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, 2001-2002, p. 49.
  • Time, July 12, 1971.
  • Times Literary Supplement, March 16, 1967; August 7, 1970; November 12, 1970; December 11, 1970; May 20, 1977; May 30, 1980; February 20, 1981; November 4, 1983; May 10, 1991, p. 22.
  • Village Voice, October 22, 1958; December 10, 1979; November 25, 1981.
  • Virginia Quarterly Review, summer, 1968; winter, 1972; spring, 1973.
  • Voice Literary Supplement, September, 1991, p. 14.
  • Washington Post Book World, August 11, 1991, p. 13.
  • Western Humanities Review, spring, 1970.
  • Winstom-Salem Journal, March 5, 2000, p. E1.
  • World Literature Today, autumn, 1984; summer, 1992; spring, 1995.
  • Yale Review, October, 1962; December, 1969; spring, 1970; April, 1999, p. 175.

ONLINE

  • Academy of American Poets: Poetry Exhibit, http://www.poets.org/ (March 8, 2004).
  • Cortland Review, http://www.cortlandreview.com/ (April, 1998), interview with Creeley.
  • Levity, http://www.levity.com/ (March 8, 2004).
  • Providence Phoenix Book Reviews, http://www.providencephoenix.com/ (March 26-April 2, 1998), interview with Creeley.
  • Robert Creeley Home Page, http://wings.buffalo.edu/epc/authors/creeley/ (April 26, 2000).
  • University of Illinois, Department of English, http://www.english.uiuc.edu/ (March 8, 2004).

BOOKS

  • Creeley, Robert, Autobiography, Hanuman Books, 1990.

PERIODICALS

  • Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2005, p. B9.
  • New York Times, April 1, 2005, p. C13.
  • Times (London, England), April 1, 2005, p. 62.
  • Washington Post, April 1, 2005, p. B6.

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POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

LIFE SPAN 1926–2005

Robert Creeley

Biography

Once known primarily for his association with the group called the “Black Mountain Poets,” at the time of his death in 2005, Robert Creeley was widely recognized as one of the most important and influential American poets of the twentieth century. His poetry is noted for both its concision and emotional power. Albert Mobilio, writing in the Voice Literary Supplement, observed: “Creeley has shaped his own audience. The much . . .

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