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Robert Bly (Robert Elwood Bly) Biography

(1926– ), (Robert Elwood Bly), The Fifties, Silence in the Snowy Fields, The Light around the Body

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American poet, born in Madison, Minnesota, educated at Harvard and the University of Iowa. In 1958 he founded The Fifties, a important literary magazine of the period, in conjunction with the Fifties Press. He is also well known as a prolific translator of poetry. His first collection of poetry, Silence in the Snowy Fields (1962), derived much of its imagery from his native surroundings in rural Minnesota. During the late 1960s he organized and participated in many poetry readings mounted as a form of protest against the Vietnam War (see Vietnam Writing); The Light around the Body (1967) and The Teeth Mother Naked at Last (1970) project harsh critiques of modern American culture in poems notable for their disquieting successions of imagery and compelling free-verse rhythms. Point Reyes Poems (1974), The Man in the Black Coat Turns (1981), and Loving a Woman in Two Worlds (1985) are among the numerous subsequent collections of his verse, in which a development towards a poised contemplative mode is apparent. His prose poems appeared in This Body Is Made of Camphor and Gopherwood (1977) and in a collected edition, What Have I Ever Lost by Dying (1992). A Love of Minute Particulars (1985) is a British selected edition of his work since 1968. Notable among his other publications is Iron John (1990), an imaginative treatment of the psychology of the male in modern culture, which attracted widespread attention in the USA and elsewhere.

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