April 3, 2005

Robert Creeley 1926-2005

Robert Creeley died Wednesday, March 30 at 6:15 a.m. of pneumonia in Odessa, Texas. He was active and ferociously alive up until the end.

Full biography

Robert Creeley was born in Massachusetts in 1926 and graduated from Black Mountain College where he befriended Charles Olson and edited The Black Mountain Review. Publications include: For Love (1962); Words (1967); Pieces (1969); The Finger (1970); St Martin's (1971); A Day Book (1972); Thirty Things (1974); Away (1976); Later (1978) and Memory Gardens (1986). He has also written prose, including The Gold Diggers (1954/65) and The Island (1963); as well as essays A Quick Graph (1970) and Was That a Real Poem (1979). He was awarded the Horst Bienek Lyrikpreis from the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Grant and was New York State Laureate from 1989-91. He is a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters and lives in Buffalo, New York. He held the poetics chair at the State University of NY at Buffalo prior to Charles Bernstein.

"Why poetry? Its materials are so constant, simple, elusive, specific. It costs so little and so much. It preoccupies a life, yet can only find one living. It is a music, a playful construct of feeling, a last word and communion" (selected Poems 1945-1990).

For over 50 years Robert Creeley has given shape and breadth to a unique form of verse. Lee Harwood writes: "he has an amazing intensity when he reads. Every 'and', 'the' and 'but' matter. No superfluous words or literary pirouettes. Just trying to get to the heart of the 'matter'".

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