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Morning -- Robert Creeley

(Poem #552) Morning
 dam's broke,
 head's a
-- Robert Creeley
As suggested by one of our subscribers, a change of pace.

Robert Creeley has been described as 'an Imagist of the emotions'. His poems are
like sharply etched miniatures - not a word out of place, not a phrase that
seems jarring. At the same time, his subjects are not the external objects that
Pound famously exhorted his Imagist brethren to 'show, not tell'; rather,
Creeley is more concerned with limning the nice distinctions of feeling and
sensibility, of heart and mind.

We'll definitely be running more of Creeley's work in the future (he's a poet
whom I've but recently discovered); today's poem is, I think, a wonderful
introduction to it. I especially love the line break before the word
'waterfall': it makes the reader pause before plunging into the final line, just
like water gathering itself up before tumbling over a precipice... lovely.



Robert White Creeley
  b. May 21, 1926, Arlington, Mass., U.S.
  U.S. poet and founder of the Black Mountain movement of the 1950s.

 Creeley dropped out of Harvard University in the last semester of his senior
year and spent a year driving a truck in India and Burma for the American Field
Service. Soon after his return in 1945, he lived on a poultry farm in New
Hampshire and, by his own account, spent much time listening to jazz. Motivated
by a Boston radio program of poetry readings that he chanced to hear, he began
to publish his poems in small magazines. He lived in France in the early 1950s
and then moved to Majorca, Spain, where he started the Divers Press. In 1955,
after receiving a B.A. from Black Mountain College (North Carolina), he joined
Charles Olson on its faculty and was editor of the Black Mountain Review for its
first three years. The Review published poems by the then little-known Creeley,
as well as poems by various other faculty members and poets.

 Creeley's poems of the 1950s and 1960s reveal the influence of William Carlos
Williams. In For Love (1962), the collection of poems written between 1950 and
1960, Creeley emerged as a master technician. Like Williams' poems, Creeley's
are short and to the point. In his later books of poetry, most notably Pieces
(1968), Creeley's poems are equally self-contained. His poetry, characterized by
understatement, down-to-earth flippancy, and a studious adherence to economic
and precise language, has influenced many younger poets.

 Creeley taught poetry in several universities and from 1967 was a member of the
faculty of the State University of New York at Buffalo. His Selected Poems
appeared in 1976. Later collections include Later (1979), The Collected Poems of
Robert Creeley, Memory Gardens (1986), and Windows (1990).

        -- EB

[The Black Mountain poets]

 ... any of a loosely associated group of poets that formed an important part of
the avant-garde of American poetry in the 1950s, publishing innovative yet
disciplined verse in the Black Mountain Review (1954-57), which became a leading
forum of experimental verse.

 The group grew up around the poets Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, and Charles
Olson while they were teaching at Black Mountain College in North Carolina.
Turning away from the poetic tradition espoused by T.S. Eliot, these poets
emulated the freer style of William Carlos Williams. Charles Olson's essay
Projective Verse (1950) became their manifesto. Olson emphasized the creative
process, in which the poet's energy is transferred through the poem to the
reader. Inherent in this new poetry was the reliance upon decidedly American
conversational language.

 Much of the group's early work was published in the magazine Origin (1951-56).
Dissatisfied with the lack of critical material in that magazine, Creeley and
Olson established the Black Mountain Review. It featured the work of William
Carlos Williams, Paul Blackburn, Denise Levertov, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder,
and many others who later became significant poets.

        -- EB

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