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(12/25/2014) Selected Poems by Robert Creeley. Berkeley. 1991. University Of California Press. 366 pages.  hardcover. Cover photos: top left, Jonathan Williams; top-right and lower left, Elsa Dorfman; lower-right, Chris Felver. Jacket design: Barbara Jellow.  0520069358 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Here, in a new selection of 200 poems from over four decades, is the distinctive voice of Robert Creeley, reminding us of what has made him one of the most important and affectionately regarded poets of our time. Since the publication of For Love, Robert Creeley has been a popular and frequently controversial force in American poetry. He has challenged established canons of literary taste, prompted the most avant-garde writers of his gene ration, and, with his spare, subtly colloquial poems, defined a literary style to which today’s ‘language’ poets trace their inspiration. In opposition to established literary tastes, Creeley’s idiosyncratic lyrics have shaped the legacy of a ‘new American poetry’ for an entire generation of younger poets. Creeley published his first poem in the Harvard magazine Wake in 1946. In 1949 he began corresponding with William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound. Creeley’s acquaintance with the poet Charles Olson dates from the following year. In 1954, as rector of Black Mountain College (an experimental arts school in North Carolina), Olson invited Creeley to join the faculty and to edit the Black Mountain Review. Through the Review and his own incisive essays, Creeley helped 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. Like many of these experimental poets, Creeley broke into the literary establishment by stealth, and he still views himself as something of an outsider. ‘I began with fugitive publication,’ he says, ‘and have been variously on the run ever since.’ Creeley’s poems are distinctive for their precise, terse - almost minimalist-language. The syncopated rhythms and silences of his verse have been compared to the jazz improvisations of Charlie Parker. From the initial lyrics of personal exploration to the recognitions of adamant daily life, Selected Poems offers an introduction to the singular inventiveness that has established Creeley as a major contemporary poet.

 

 Robert Creeley (May 21, 1926 – March 30, 2005) was an American poet and author of more than sixty books. He is usually associated with the Black Mountain poets, though his verse aesthetic diverged from that school's. He was close with Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, John Wieners and Ed Dorn. He served as the Samuel P. Capen Professor of Poetry and the Humanities at State University of New York at Buffalo. In 1991, he joined colleagues Susan Howe, Charles Bernstein, Raymond Federman, Robert Bertholf, and Dennis Tedlock in founding the Poetics Program at Buffalo. Creeley lived in Waldoboro, Maine, Buffalo, New York, and Providence, Rhode Island where he taught at Brown University. He was a recipient of the Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

 

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