Robert Creeley (Robert White Creeley) Biography
(1926–2005), (Robert White Creeley), Black Mountain Review, Charles Olson and Robert Creeley: The Complete Correspondence
American poet, born in Arlington, Massachusetts, educated at Harvard University, Black Mountain College, and the University of New Mexico. He edited the Black Mountain Review from 1954 to 1957 and assisted Charles Olson in developing his theories of Projective Verse; Charles Olson and Robert Creeley: The Complete Correspondence (eight volumes, 1980–7) was edited by George F. Butterick. From the early 1960s he held a succession of posts at the University of New Mexico and the State University of New York, where he became Professor of Poetry and Humanities in 1989. Poems from numerous early collections, including Le Fou (1952) and The Whip (1957), were published to widespread critical acclaim as For Love: Poems 1950–1960 (1962); much of the verse forms terse and fluently exploratory treatments of emotional and perceptual experience. Notable among his many succeeding volumes of the 1960s are Words (1967), Numbers (1968), and Pieces (1968), which display an intensifying concern with linguistic fidelity to the processes of consciousness. In the course of the 1970s his verse became increasingly concerned with memory and its interactions with immediate experience; the understated elegiac quality sensed in Hello: A Journal (1978) is more fully present in Later (1980), in which perspectives on the past intensify an awareness of transience and ageing. Mirrors (1984), Memory Gardens (1987), Windows (1990), and Echoes (1995), his principal subsequent collections, contain work of remarkable scope: a moving emotional directness coexists with the refined minimalism of his earlier manner, while many poems exhibit a rich particularity and the laconic good humour that has always been present in his work. Collected Poems appeared in 1982 and Selected Poems, 1945–1990 in 1991. Among his other publications are The Island (1963), an autobiographical novel; the short stories of The Gold Diggers (1954, enlarged 1965) and Mister Blue (1964); and Autobiography (1990). Collected Essays (1989) forms a valuable chronicle of poetic developments in the post-war years.