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Robert Creely, Wilmington, N.C., June 29, 1981: There is a sense of increment, of accumulation, in these poems that is very dear to me. Like it or not, it outwits whatever I then thought to say and gains thereby whatever I was in saying it. Thankfully, I was never what I thought I was, certainly never enough. Otherwise, when it came time to think specifically of this colle Robert Creely, Wilmington, N.C., June 29, 1981: There is a sense of increment, of accumulation, in these poems that is very dear to me. Like it or not, it outwits whatever I then thought to say and gains thereby whatever I was in saying it. Thankfully, I was never what I thought I was, certainly never enough. Otherwise, when it came time to think specifically of this collection and of what might be decorously omitted, I decided to stick with my initial judgments, book by tender book, because these were the occasions most definitive of what the poems might mean, either to me or to anyone else. To define their value in hindsight would be to miss the factual life they had either made manifest or engendered. So everything that was printed in a book between the dates of 1945 and 1975 is here included as are also those poems published in magazines or broadsides. In short, all that was in print is here. I'm delighted that they are all finally together, respected, included, each with their place--like some ultimate family reunion! I feel much relieved to see them now as a company at last. I'm tempted to invoke again those poets who served as a measure and resource for me all my life as a poet. But either they will be heard here, in the words and rhythms themselves, or one will simply know the. This time I am, in this respect, alone these are my poems. We are a singular compact. Finally, there's no end to any of it, or none we'll know that simply. But I'm very relieved that this much, like they say, is done. So be it.


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Robert Creely, Wilmington, N.C., June 29, 1981: There is a sense of increment, of accumulation, in these poems that is very dear to me. Like it or not, it outwits whatever I then thought to say and gains thereby whatever I was in saying it. Thankfully, I was never what I thought I was, certainly never enough. Otherwise, when it came time to think specifically of this colle Robert Creely, Wilmington, N.C., June 29, 1981: There is a sense of increment, of accumulation, in these poems that is very dear to me. Like it or not, it outwits whatever I then thought to say and gains thereby whatever I was in saying it. Thankfully, I was never what I thought I was, certainly never enough. Otherwise, when it came time to think specifically of this collection and of what might be decorously omitted, I decided to stick with my initial judgments, book by tender book, because these were the occasions most definitive of what the poems might mean, either to me or to anyone else. To define their value in hindsight would be to miss the factual life they had either made manifest or engendered. So everything that was printed in a book between the dates of 1945 and 1975 is here included as are also those poems published in magazines or broadsides. In short, all that was in print is here. I'm delighted that they are all finally together, respected, included, each with their place--like some ultimate family reunion! I feel much relieved to see them now as a company at last. I'm tempted to invoke again those poets who served as a measure and resource for me all my life as a poet. But either they will be heard here, in the words and rhythms themselves, or one will simply know the. This time I am, in this respect, alone these are my poems. We are a singular compact. Finally, there's no end to any of it, or none we'll know that simply. But I'm very relieved that this much, like they say, is done. So be it.

30 review for The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1945-1975

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fergus

    Creeley is wonderful. Saying one has "read" this book is like the Chinese brother in the kid's book thinking he can swallow the WHOLE ocean. He does, for a while - but can't hold it in! So imagine trying to REVIEW it. There is so much going on here, that NOBODY can capture it all, let alone "finish" it. It’s so much like John Cage’s music. Or Marcel Duchamp’s Art. If we haven’t Interiorized Silence, at one point or another in our lives, we are at sea with all three of these Icons. Silence lets us liv Creeley is wonderful. Saying one has "read" this book is like the Chinese brother in the kid's book thinking he can swallow the WHOLE ocean. He does, for a while - but can't hold it in! So imagine trying to REVIEW it. There is so much going on here, that NOBODY can capture it all, let alone "finish" it. It’s so much like John Cage’s music. Or Marcel Duchamp’s Art. If we haven’t Interiorized Silence, at one point or another in our lives, we are at sea with all three of these Icons. Silence lets us live. Silence Breathes. Silence IS when Everything ISN’T. Music is Full of Silence, and that’s where its Meaning resides. So THAT’s the Meaning of the Music of Robert Creeley here, too. OK. So for this "review"... I'd like to just sit with you in Silence and WONDER at his early poetry. You know, early, like in YOUR early years - that time in your life when your kids were little - the two of you were quietly settled down in a little place of your own, for the first time in your lives... That’s the time when "a rose is a rose is a rose". When what you see is what you get. Nice and simple. Everything IS coming up roses, for the most part. Though, granted, there are vague hints of unease. But, it was a time when you didn’t see the Big Picture. That didn’t matter. You didn’t care about that, because you were Happy Where You Were. And you spoke personally, in the first person. It was a warm and cozy feeling. Sure seems nice to many of us now! Ah, sweet innocence. And for the young Creeley there are very few thorns in his life. There is none of the later abstracted truculence - which owes more to Zen than to life’s aporias. For Simplicity - in your life or in your poetry - Dissolves Complex Problems Subconsciously. So here we go - here’s the YOUNG Creeley, with his million-dollar ear... A FRAGMENT: On the street I am met with constant hostility and would have finally nothing else around me, except my children who are trained to love and whom I intend to leave as relics of my intentions. THE DRUMS: How are you Harry the last time we met it was in Heaven or so I remember FOR THE NEW YEAR: From something in the trees looking down at me or else an inexact sign of a remote and artificial tenderness - a woman who passes me and who will not consider me - things I have tried to take with which to make something like a toy for my children and a story to be quietly forgotten. Oh God, send me an omen that I may remember more often. Keep me, see to me, let me look. Being unhappy, there is the fate of doing nothing right. RETURN: Quiet as is proper for such places, The street, subdued, half-snow, half-rain, Endless, but ending in the darkened doors. Inside, as they who will be there always, Quiet as is proper for such people - Enough for now to be here, and To know my door is one of these. *** Four stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    mwpm mwpm

    Grief, grief I suppose and sufficient Grief makes us free To be faithless and faithful together As we have to be. - D.H. Lawrence, Hymn to Priapus The first volume of The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley includes the following books: The Charm, For Love, Words, Pieces, In London, His Idea, Thirty Things, Backwards, and Away. In addition, the first volume includes Creeley's uncollected poems from this period... I wanted you without virtue - so to speak, a history of alternatives. Lusts of mind ache for r Grief, grief I suppose and sufficient Grief makes us free To be faithless and faithful together As we have to be. - D.H. Lawrence, Hymn to Priapus The first volume of The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley includes the following books: The Charm, For Love, Words, Pieces, In London, His Idea, Thirty Things, Backwards, and Away. In addition, the first volume includes Creeley's uncollected poems from this period... I wanted you without virtue - so to speak, a history of alternatives. Lusts of mind ache for realization no less than any appetite wants enough. - Again * * * The world you know as one piece after another, bending its place in your mind looking after the golden sun. - Sunset * * * Warmth is the way of all flesh The length is skin and bones - cold feet! It's all night long. - Looking Out

  3. 5 out of 5

    Parissa

    one of my favorites... The Rain All night the sound had come back again, and again falls this quiet, persistent rain. What am I to myself that must be remembered, insisted upon so often? Is it that never the ease, even the hardness, of rain falling will have for me something other than this, something not so insistent -- am I to be locked in this final uneasiness. Love, if you love me, lie next to me. Be for me, like rain, the getting out of tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi- lust of intentional indifference. Be wet one of my favorites... The Rain All night the sound had come back again, and again falls this quiet, persistent rain. What am I to myself that must be remembered, insisted upon so often? Is it that never the ease, even the hardness, of rain falling will have for me something other than this, something not so insistent -- am I to be locked in this final uneasiness. Love, if you love me, lie next to me. Be for me, like rain, the getting out of tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi- lust of intentional indifference. Be wet with a decent happiness.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Hebert

    Creeley is, quite simply, my favorite amongst 20th century poets. Whenever I'm feeling too bored or tired to invest in longer works, I pull this volume out and read a few poems. It's difficult for me to explain what I love about Creeley. I just get a kick out of the wit and creativity. Perhaps I should invest in his newer collected poems (1975-2000), as I'm quite unfamiliar with his recent work. Creeley is, quite simply, my favorite amongst 20th century poets. Whenever I'm feeling too bored or tired to invest in longer works, I pull this volume out and read a few poems. It's difficult for me to explain what I love about Creeley. I just get a kick out of the wit and creativity. Perhaps I should invest in his newer collected poems (1975-2000), as I'm quite unfamiliar with his recent work.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Leanna

    I enjoyed many of these poems, but I think it would be very difficult for me to say why. Something about their openness, brevity, and weird line breaks, and the looseness of the syntax and grammar. Oddly textured, oddly rhythmic, a sort of Frank O-Hara-ish sweetness. Sometimes the poems get too obscure for me, or the play with syntax is so radical it makes me anxious (since it hinders understanding). I have a feeling this is poetry I could return to later and "get" better. At this point, I’m not I enjoyed many of these poems, but I think it would be very difficult for me to say why. Something about their openness, brevity, and weird line breaks, and the looseness of the syntax and grammar. Oddly textured, oddly rhythmic, a sort of Frank O-Hara-ish sweetness. Sometimes the poems get too obscure for me, or the play with syntax is so radical it makes me anxious (since it hinders understanding). I have a feeling this is poetry I could return to later and "get" better. At this point, I’m not really sure what I could take from it for my own writing—Creeley is not too interested in figurative or lyrical language, and that’s often where the heart of my interests lies. Still, his startling line breaks, his minimal style, and the brevity of so many of his poems, are really intriguing to me. I especially want to return to the book “For Love” some day. His poems seem always weird, always interesting. Favorite book: "For Love" Favorite poems: "The Warning," "Like They Say," "The Rain" (perhaps my fave!), "Words," "Enough." "The Rain," for your viewing pleasure: "The Rain" All night the sound had come back again, and again falls this quiet, persistent rain. What am I to myself that must be remembered, insisted upon so often? Is it that never the ease, even the hardness, of rain falling will have for me something other than this, something not so insistent--- am I to be locked in this final uneasiness. Love, if you love me, lie next to me. Be for me, like rain, the getting out of the tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi- lust of intentional indifference. Be wet with a decent happiness.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Roman

    You know, the apocryphal stars might have guessed that I would hate Robert Creeley, because he's so commonly compared to a 20th-century Whitman. My feelings for Whitman are cool at best, disdainful at worst. Side note: I feel like Walt Whitman is so overrated. That sentimental old man. I can't really articulate the way Creeley makes me feel. I read in a HONY post, once, that the marker of a good poem is that it changes you, that you are not the same person after you have read it. I don't really kn You know, the apocryphal stars might have guessed that I would hate Robert Creeley, because he's so commonly compared to a 20th-century Whitman. My feelings for Whitman are cool at best, disdainful at worst. Side note: I feel like Walt Whitman is so overrated. That sentimental old man. I can't really articulate the way Creeley makes me feel. I read in a HONY post, once, that the marker of a good poem is that it changes you, that you are not the same person after you have read it. I don't really know if Creeley has "changed" me, but I do know that he wrote the only poem I've ever memorized: My lady fair with soft arms, what can I say to you—words, words as if all worlds were there.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amber Manning

    It took me a while to settle in with Creeley... By the time I reached the poem "Numbers," I realized I was wrestling with Creeley the way Creeley is wrestling with himself. "Numbers" is just a fantastic poem but it was also one of those ones that--for me--came at exactly the right time (of day, in life, etc.). Look at the light of this hour. And the counting stops and we take a breath for a moment and this is Creeley at his most Creeley-ist and I'm here for. By the time he gets around to quoting Leonar It took me a while to settle in with Creeley... By the time I reached the poem "Numbers," I realized I was wrestling with Creeley the way Creeley is wrestling with himself. "Numbers" is just a fantastic poem but it was also one of those ones that--for me--came at exactly the right time (of day, in life, etc.). Look at the light of this hour. And the counting stops and we take a breath for a moment and this is Creeley at his most Creeley-ist and I'm here for. By the time he gets around to quoting Leonard Cohen several poems later, I don't want the collection--or the anthology--to end.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    "I'll Be Here" There is a lake of clear water. There are forms of things despite us. Pope said, "a little learning," and, and, and, and—the same. Why don't you go home and sleep and come back and talk some more. "I'll Be Here" There is a lake of clear water. There are forms of things despite us. Pope said, "a little learning," and, and, and, and—the same. Why don't you go home and sleep and come back and talk some more.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tony Johnson

    The greatest American poet of his century not named Langston Hughes. He does with a stanza what most would do with a volume. The prose is brisk, his vernacular graspable. Never pretentious, always heartfelt, positively sublime stuff.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aveugle Vogel

    "of some other wood" "of some other wood"

  11. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Napolsky

    Lots of exploration here. Many sections I eagerly devoured, consistently thrilled, surprised and—naturally—impressed. A great poet.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michael Morris

    I wanted so much to love this book, because I have read several Creeley poems here and there and enjoy so much his collaboration with Steve Swallow (Home). But I could only like some of this massive collection. Much of it left me baffled. I suppose what troubles me is that some of what I enjoyed in reading this book might well be said of poems I could not find much to get excited about. I love the haiku-like quality of several of the poems, and it is the short, compact pieces that got to me. Howe I wanted so much to love this book, because I have read several Creeley poems here and there and enjoy so much his collaboration with Steve Swallow (Home). But I could only like some of this massive collection. Much of it left me baffled. I suppose what troubles me is that some of what I enjoyed in reading this book might well be said of poems I could not find much to get excited about. I love the haiku-like quality of several of the poems, and it is the short, compact pieces that got to me. However, several of the short poems just seemed to sit there. No image. No idea. Just words. Despite the musicality of Creeley's work, several poems seemed to jumble syntax for its own sake and repeat words for no particular reason. Maybe I just missed it. But a few of the poems made me feel that E.E. Cummings and Williams Carlos Williams had created a kind of Caliban, at times tender, but most often mumbling semi-coherently. I did find some beautiful love/erotic poems. And despite my harsh reaction to my first reading, I do think I will need to return to this book and certainly to other Creeley collections. I haven't given up that I'll find more jewels.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Winkler

    This book changed the way I write poetry and possibly everything else. Creeley taught me to think about and hear every word I use, to use words as sparingly as possible, and to realize that even in the space between words there is incredible depth and emotion. Every writer should read this book to learn about exerting control over one's language, which ultimately translates to a control over ego in the writing process. This book changed the way I write poetry and possibly everything else. Creeley taught me to think about and hear every word I use, to use words as sparingly as possible, and to realize that even in the space between words there is incredible depth and emotion. Every writer should read this book to learn about exerting control over one's language, which ultimately translates to a control over ego in the writing process.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Few books have meant as much to me over the years. Read the early work in conjunction with the letters Creeley and Olson, both very poor ("couldn't afford a stamp last week..."), were writing at the time for an experience as moving (and, for a young writer, as instructive) as any I know in literature. Few books have meant as much to me over the years. Read the early work in conjunction with the letters Creeley and Olson, both very poor ("couldn't afford a stamp last week..."), were writing at the time for an experience as moving (and, for a young writer, as instructive) as any I know in literature.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Russ

    I have read and re-read this book for the past 20 years of my life. I was lucky enough to live in Buffalo New York and got to know Bob Creeley. His inspiration to me has been the driving force in my life. I love this book

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    It took me a while to read this book, but only because it's so long. Once I started reading it, I couldn't stop. Robert Creeley has a unique way of using language and creating images. It doesn't always make logical sense, but that is when I like poetry best. It took me a while to read this book, but only because it's so long. Once I started reading it, I couldn't stop. Robert Creeley has a unique way of using language and creating images. It doesn't always make logical sense, but that is when I like poetry best.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tina Dalton

    I didn't expect to enjoy modern poetry, if I'm honest. I don't normally seek out poetry in my reading life. And yet, I found that I unexpectedly loved some of Creeley's work. His poets regarding his children really hit home for me. I didn't expect to enjoy modern poetry, if I'm honest. I don't normally seek out poetry in my reading life. And yet, I found that I unexpectedly loved some of Creeley's work. His poets regarding his children really hit home for me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    T.

    Re-reading again, because oh, oh, Creeley, he has my heart forever. / Re-read from 15 February to 19 March 2011. / Finally acquired my own copy on 2010! :) Re-read on December 2010. / Borrowed time again between 2006-2007. / First read 2005 (borrowed from the library).

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kraig Grady

    When i got it i didn't realize this was his early stuff. He is extremely musical and have been more than impressed eating up half of it already. When i got it i didn't realize this was his early stuff. He is extremely musical and have been more than impressed eating up half of it already.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Matthieu

    I'm sorry it took me so long to 'get' you. I'm sorry it took me so long to 'get' you.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shashi

    a lot to sort through but worth it

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matt Morris

    Read my review of this & other books at http://miscmss.blogspot.com/2013/12/l... Read my review of this & other books at http://miscmss.blogspot.com/2013/12/l...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Allen

    seminal, when I was young, now important to re-view

  24. 5 out of 5

    Phil

    A great book to carry around, a portable Creely representing his earlier work.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Donald R.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Ray

  27. 5 out of 5

    Britt Barber

  28. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Nance

  29. 5 out of 5

    Clairedaigle

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kurt Browne

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