Allen Ginsberg, Collected Poems, 1947-1980 (New York, 1984).

Lewis Hyde, ed., On the Poetry of Allen Ginsberg (Ann Arbor, 1984). Barry Miles, Ginsberg: A Biography (New York, 1989).

Marjorie Perloff, Poetic Licence: Essays on Modernist and Postmodernist Lyric (Evanston, 1990).

Paul Portuges, The Visionary Poetics of Allen Ginsberg (Santa Barbara, CA, 1979).

Robert Creeley has been an important editor and teacher as well as poet, forging an individual path in his work out of the open-ended poetics advocated by Charles Olson and the concentration upon the everyday world stressed by William Carlos Williams. This poetry records in minimalist, sometimes cryptic, terms an interior drama usually concerned with intimate emotional feelings - about love, loss, aging, or the poet's craft itself. Creeley's poetry rejects traditional rhyme and meter, and his view of form is organic. Olson often quoted Creeley's assertion that "Form is never more than an extension of content."

Creeley was born in Arlington, Massachusetts. Before his fifth birthday his father, a doctor and the head of a local hospital, had died, and Creeley had lost the sight of his left eye in an accident. The family moved to a farm in West Acton. Attending Holderness School, in Plymouth, New Hampshire, Creeley edited the school's literary publications before entering Harvard in 1943. His studies at Harvard were interrupted for a year when he served as an ambulance driver in 1944-5 for the American Field Service in India. He


Lewis Hyde, ed., On the Poetry of Allen Ginsberg (Ann Arbor, 1984). Barry Miles, Ginsberg: A Biography (New York, 1989).

Marjorie Perloff, Poetic Licence: Essays on Modernist and Postmodernist Lyric (Evanston, 1990).

Paul Portuges, The Visionary Poetics of Allen Ginsberg (Santa Barbara, CA, 1979).

returned to Harvard, published his work in the Harvard Wake, married, and left before graduating with only a semester left to complete.

Like Frost before him, Creeley tried farming in New Hampshire for the next couple of years. He made plans to start a literary magazine and began a correspondence with Cid Corman and later with Charles Olson. Corman founded Origin after Creeley's plans fell through and the journal became an important outlet for poets interested in the alternatives to New Critical formalism, alternatives that they saw represented in particular by the work of Pound and Williams. Creeley's correspondence with Olson has become legendary. The two wrote to each other sometimes daily, and the complete correspondence when published took up ten volumes. The two did not meet until 1954, four years after the correspondence began.

In 1951 the Creeleys moved to Aix-en-Provence in France, where their neighbors included Harvard friend Mitchell Goodman and his wife Denise Levertov. Creeley's poems began to appear in Origin, and his first book of poems, Le Fou, published by Golden Goose Press, appeared in 1952 - the same year that the family, now including two sons and a daughter, moved to Mallorca. The Kind of Act Of and The Immoral Proposition, two further books of poems, appeared in 1953.

From the Spanish island in the western Mediterranean, where printing was cheap, Creeley set up the Divers Press, publishing Robert Duncan, Charles Olson, and his own 1954 book of short stories, The Gold Diggers. From March to July he taught at Black Mountain College, where Olson was principal, and in the same year began to edit The Black Mountain Review. He returned to teach at Black Mountain College in 1955, and the following year began teaching at a boys' school in New Mexico. Divorced by 1956, he remarried in 1957, and continued his teaching in various locations - in Guatemala, the University of New Mexico, and the University of British Columbia. Black Mountain College had granted him a BA in 1956, and the University of New Mexico followed with an MA in 1960. Creeley continued to publish volumes of poetry with small presses regularly in the 1950s, but he became well known with the wider publication of For Love: Poems 19501960 in 1962, which offered an opportunity to review his achievement.

"I Know a Man," from 1962, is often anthologized. The poem records a moment of intimate, stressful exchange while driving with a friend, concerned that "the darkness sur / rounds us," and suggesting that one comfort might be to "buy a goddam big car." The friend replies:

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

In the ordinariness of the central activity and the everyday language, the wit, economy, compression, the focus on the present rather than an abstraction, and the quiet but intense anxiety motivating the short narrative, this is a quintessential Creeley poem. But sometimes the poems are more cryptic and illogical in their movement, while still retaining the characteristics of interior drama. "The Door," a longer poem, dedicated to Robert Duncan, is an example. Creeley's emphasis upon immediacy, and its relationship to language and poetry, receives explicit statement in his poem "I Keep to Myself Such Measures . . ."

The Island, Creeley's only novel, appeared in 1963. In the 1960s Creeley began to receive some major grants and awards, including, in 1964, the first of two Guggenheim Fellowships. In 1966 he taught for the first time at the State University of New York, Buffalo, where in 1970 he accepted a permanent teaching position. In 1991 he became the founding director of the university's important Poetics Program, which now includes in its core faculty poets Charles Bernstein and Susan Howe.

In his more than 60 books of poetry, Creeley has remained a central figure in the line that finds its roots in the work of Pound, Williams, and Louis Zukofsky, and later Olson, Duncan, and Levertov. In recent years his work has begun to include responses to death and aging, although the theme appeared at least as early as "Self Portrait" in 1983 and "Age" in 1988. A 1998 collection is titled Life & Death. Creeley was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 1999, and won the 1999 Bollingen Prize in Poetry.

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