Robert Creeley

Robert Creeley with Dan Rice by Jonathan Williams

Robert Creeley Checklist:
Section A: Books and Broadsides
Section B: Contributions to Books and Anthologies
Section C: Contributions to Periodicals

Robert Creeley was born in Arlington, Massachusetts, on May 21, 1926. He attended Harvard University from 1943 to 1946, taking time out from 1944 to 1945 to work for the American Field Service in Burma and India. In 1946 he published his first poem, in the Harvard magazine Wake.

In 1949 he began corresponding with William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound. The following year he became acquainted with the poet Charles Olson. In 1954, as rector of Black Mountain College (an experimental arts college in North Carolina), Olson invited Creeley to join the faculty and to edit the Black Mountain Review. In 1960 Creeley received a master’s degree from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

Through the Black Mountain Review and his own critical writings, Creeley helped to define an emerging counter-tradition to the literary establishment—a postwar poetry originating with Pound, Williams, and Zukofsky and expanding through the lives and works of Olson, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, Edward Dorn, and others.

In a review of Life & Death, Forrest Gander wrote: “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.”

References Consulted:

Kent: Kent State University Press, 1973