Robert Creeley

1926-2005

 

Robert Creeley is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is also buried here.)



Robert Creeley's Grave

Creeley was born in Arlington Massachusetts and brought up on a farm at Acton. At the age of four he lost his left eye in an accident. He attended  Harvard University but his study was interruped by WW2. He returned to the university after the war but then abandoned his course in the final semester and moved to Black Mounatin College where he gained a BA. (He had previously corresponded with the poet Charles Olson who became rector at Black Mountain.)

In 1954 Olson invited Creeley to edit the Black Mountain Review and to teach at the college. The college was a focus for developments in the arts for the abstract expressionism generation. Creeley remained a teacher until the college collapsed in 1957.

From 1951-55 Creeley and his wife and children lived on the Island of Mallorca where he establsihed the Divers Press and published work by Robert Duncan, Charles Olson and Paul Blackburn. While on the island he wrote a collection of short stories entitled The Gold Diggers and wrote his only novel entitled: The Island. He travelled back and forth from Black Mountain College during most of his time on Mallorca.

His first book Le Fou appeared in 1952 and there followed a book a year for the rest of his life. He was a prolific writer and his poetry was very influenced by William Carlos Williams exhibiting a similar plain style to his mentor. Creeley mainly employed free verse with a prose-like style and used jump cuts at the end of lines. He once said that form was 'never more than an extension of content' - which led to him abandon traditional poetic forms.

After he left Black Mountain College Creeley headed west to San Francisco where he met advantgarde writers such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg and the painter Jackson Pollack. Pollack taught him that a work of art should 'manifest directly of the energy inherent in the materials'.

In 1960 Creeley took an MA at the University of Mexico and then took up teaching at the New York State University, Buffalo until 2003.

He won the Bollingen Prize and was the New York State Laureate from 1989 to 1991. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003.

He died in Odessa in Texas from complications of pnuemonia aged 78. At the time of his death he was a writer in residence with the Lannan Foundation in Marfa Texas. He was survived by his three wives and seven children.

I Know A Man


As I sd to my
friend, because I am
always talking, - John I

sd, which was not his
name, the darkness sur-
rounds us, what

can we do against
it, or else, shall we &
why not, buy a goddamn big car,

drive, he sd, for
christ's sake, look
out where yr going.
 

 


 

 

 
 
 
 

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