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Robert Kelly Biography

(1935– ), The Loom, The Common Shore, Red Actions, Lunes, Songs I–XXX, Kali Yuga

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Patrick Kavanagh Biography to Knocknarea Sligo

American poet, born in Brooklyn, educated at Columbia University. Kelly is a prolific poet who has published over forty books. Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and the Black Mountain poets are central influences on his work; these, together with his work on medieval and German language and literature, have helped him to create a processive, visionary poetry of great formal variety. Together with Jerome Rothenberg, he coined the term ‘deep image’ in order to convey the sense of a mystical presence underpinning each section of his work, a presence which cannot be directly visualized but which may be intuited in the twists and turns of his syntax. His long poems include The Loom (1975) and The Common Shore (1969), the latter taking America as the principal feature of his concerns. Red Actions (1995), selected poems, offers a useful introduction to Kelly's work. Collections of shorter material include Lunes (1965), Songs I–XXX (1968), Kali Yuga (1970), Kill the Messenger Who Brings Bad News (1979), and Spiritual Exercises (1981). The Scorpions (1969) is a novel, and In Time (1971) is a collection of essays.

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