I was saddened to learn that poet Robert Creeley died on March 30. Guardian Unlimited carried a nice online appreciation of Creeley’s life and work. Link
How often it seems that we learn more about people after they die than we knew when they were alive. I had read and admired Creeley’s poetry for years, but until I read the obituaries, I didn’t know that he grew up not far from where I grew up — he was born in Arlington, Massachusetts, and spent much of his childhood in West Acton, quite close to Concord where I grew up. And two of his influences were Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams — I spent a lot of time reading Pound in my late teens, and I still love Williams. So I suppose it’s no wonder I have enjoyed Creeley.
Maybe more than enjoyed Creeley. I’m convinced that poetry grows out of the place the poet is from. Creeley was a New Englander from his birth in 1926 until 1951 — New England was bred in his bones. His poetry flowered elsewhere: Black Mountain, New Mexico, Bolinas, New York state. Like so many other New Englanders, he had to get out of New England, travel widely, in order to write. Maybe it was the Pacific ocean, and the Mediterranean, that really allowed him to write what he wrote.
Creeley wrote in his poem Here:
That’s what Creeley says. I’d say that you don’t have a place until you have a poet writing poems about it.
You can find some of Creeley’s poems online at the Robert Creeley home page. Link