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Modern Literature Collection Authors

A guide to the Modern Literature Collection's most prominent authors and collections, with related resources.

Biography

 

creeleyRobert Creeley (May 21, 1926 – March 30, 2005) was an American poet and author of more than sixty books. He is usually associated with the Black Mountain poets, though his verse aesthetic diverged from that school. He entered Harvard University in 1943, but left to serve in the American Field Service in Burma and India in 1944-1945. He returned to Harvard in 1946, but eventually took his BA from Black Mountain College in 1955, teaching some courses there as well.

From 1951 to 1955, Creeley and his first wife, Ann, lived on the Spanish island of Mallorca. There they started Divers Press and published works by Paul Blackburn, Robert Duncan, Charles Olson, and others. Creeley wrote about half of his published prose while living on the island, including a short story collection, The Gold Diggers, and a novel, The Island. He traveled between Mallorca and his teaching position at Black Mountain College in 1954 and 1955. They also saw to the printing of some issues of Origin andBlack Mountain Review on Mallorca because the printing costs were significantly lower there.

Creeley received an MA from the University of New Mexico in 1960. He began his academic career by teaching at the prestigious Albuquerque Academy starting in around 1958 until about 1960 or 1961. Afterward, he wandered about a bit before settling into the English faculty of “Black Mountain II” at the University at Buffalo in 1967. He would stay at this post until 2003, when he received a post at Brown University. At the time of his death, he was in residence with the Lannan Foundation in Marfa, Texas.

Creeley first received fame in 1962 from his poetry collection For Love. It was hard for many readers and critics to immediately understand Creeley’s reputation as an innovative poet, for his innovations were often very subtle; even harder for some to imagine that his work lived up to the Black Mountain tenet—which he articulated to Charles Olson in their correspondence, and which Olson popularized in his essay “Projective Verse,” — that “form is never more than an extension of content,” for his poems were often written in couplet, triplet, and quatrain stanzas that break into and out of rhyme as happenstance appears to dictate.

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