Robert Creeley

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Robert

Creeley

Acton, Massachusetts
<p>Image: © OpenStreetMap contributors</p>

Robert Creeley was born in Arlington, Massachusetts, in 1926, and grew up in Acton in the central part of the state. At age four Creeley lost his left eye following a serious car accident. That same year, his father died from a heart attack, and his mother became the family’s sole provider, raising Creeley and his sister, Helen.

Image: © OpenStreetMap contributors

Cambridge, Massachusetts
<p>Image: © OpenStreetMap contributors</p>

Robert Creeley attended Harvard University from 1943 to 1944, when he took leave of absence due to his abysmal grades. Creeley returned to Harvard in 1946, but never graduated. He did, however, become involved with the undergraduate publication Wake, which published his earliest poems.

Image: © OpenStreetMap contributors

Mallorca, Spain
<p>Image: "Robert Creeley in Majorca", 1953. Photo by Jonathan Williams. Courtesy Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina, Asheville, NC.</p>

Robert Creeley moved to the Spanish island of Mallorca with his wife and three children in 1951 hoping for economical living conditions while subsisting on the small income his wife received from a trust fund. While living on Mallorca, Creeley wrote his only novel, The Island, based largely on his failing marriage, which would end in divorce soon after the family left Mallorca in 1956.

Image: "Robert Creeley in Majorca", 1953. Photo by Jonathan Williams. Courtesy Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina, Asheville, NC.

Asheville, North Carolina: BMC
<p>Image: "Robert Creeley as a Spanish assassin", 1954. Photo by Jonathan Williams. Courtesy Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina, Asheville, NC.</p>

At the invitation of his close friend and fellow poet Charles Olson, Robert Creeley taught at Black Mountain College in the spring of 1954 and again in the autumn of 1955. He was the founding editor of the Black Mountain Review (1954-57), a forum for experimental poetry. Greatly influenced by Olson, Creeley became known for his concise yet emotional poetry that later influenced a generation of poets.

Image: "Robert Creeley as a Spanish assassin", 1954. Photo by Jonathan Williams. Courtesy Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina, Asheville, NC.

San Francisco, California

Robert Creeley moved to San Francisco in the late 1950s in the midst of the “San Francisco Renaissance,” a time when the city was the epicenter of the American poetic avant-garde. Creeley became associated with well-known writers of the Beat Generation, such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. His work appeared in The New American Poetry: 1945-1960 (1960), an influential anthology edited by Don Allen and published by the University of California Press, which concretized the so-called Black Mountain College poets.

 

Audio/Video: Robert Creeley - "Jack's Blues" from Really!!, available on Paris Records youtube.com/watch?v=wWl7jIpodSI