Robert Creeley
Robert Creeley (b. 1926) is a New Englander by birth and disposition although he has spent most of his life in other parts of the world including Guatemala, British Columbia, France and Spain. In the 1950s he taught at Black Mountain College and also edited the Black Mountain Review, a crucial gathering place for alternative senses of writing at that time. Charles Olson, then rector of the college, Robert Duncan and Edward Dorn are among the company he met there. Subsequently he taught at the University of New Mexico and in 1966 went to the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he still teaches as the Samuel Capen Professor of Poetry and the Humanities. He was also the first director of the Poetics Program at the same university, begun in 1990 with colleagues Charles Bernstein, Susan Howe, Dennis Tedlock and Raymond Federman. Although most identified as a poet (For Love, Pieces, Windows and Selected Poems are examples of his many collections), he has written a significant body of prose including a novel, The Island, and a collection of stories, The Gold Diggers. His critical writings are published in The Collected Essays of Robert Creeley and his correspondence with Charles Olson is now in ten volumes continuing (The Complete Correspondence). He is also known for the diversity of his collaborations with artists outside his own authority. For example, he has records with two decisive jazz composer/musicians, the bassist Steve Swallow (Home) and the saxophonist Steve Lacy (Futurities). Most recently he collaborated with the alternative mix rock group Mercury Rev ("The Hum is Coming from Her/So There"). Otherwise he has worked for more than three decades with visual artists -- John Altoon, Robert Indiana, Jim Dine, R.B. Kitaj, Francesco Clemente, John Chamberlain, Georg Baselitz, Alex Katz and Susan Rothenberg among them. Although he has been emphasized as a master of formal possibilities, his art has no impulse to enclose itself in the literary solely, or to move apart from the common terms of the given world. Coming of age in the years of the Second World War, he feels his world has been one insistently involved with the unrelieved consequence of being literally human -- the cultish "existentialism" of his youth grown universal.


Harvard University, 1943-46 B.A.
Black Mountain College, 1954 M.A.
University of New Mexico, 1960

Professional Positions

State University of New York at Buffalo: Director, Poetics Program (1990-1991); Samuel P. Capen Professor of Poetry and the Humanities (1989--); David Gray Professor of Poetry and Letters (1978-1989); Professor (1967-78); Visiting Professor (1966-67)
University of New Mexico: Visiting Professor (1981,1980, 1979, 1968-69); Lecturer (1963-66), Visiting Lecturer (1961-62)
San Francisco State College: Visiting Professor (1970-71)
University of British Columbia: Lecturer (1962-63)
Black Mountain College: Teacher (1954-55)

Selected Awards

Bollingen Prize, 1999
Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Writers Award, 1996
Fulbright, University of Auckland, NZ, 1995
America Award in Poetry, 1995
Horst Bienek Lyrikpreis, Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, 1993
Honorary Doctor of Letters, University of New Mexico, 1993
Distinguished Professor, State University of New York, 1989
Walt Whitman Citation: New York State Poet, 1989-91
Distinguished Fulbright Award: Bicentennial Chair in American Studies, Helsinki University, 1988
Frost Medal, Poetry Society of America, 1987
Leone d'Oro Premio Speziale, Venice, 1984
DAAD Fellowship, Berlin, 1983, 1987
National Endowment of the Arts Grantee, 1982
Shelley Memorial Award, Poetry Society of America, 1981
Rockefeller Grantee, 1965
Guggenheim Fellow, 1964, 1967
Selected Professional Activities Chancellor, Academy of American Poets, 1999
American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1987--
NEA Literature Panel, 1984-86
Advisory Editor, New York Quarterly, 1984--
Contributing Editor, Formations, 1984--
Advisory Editor, American Book Review, 1983--
Advisory Editor, Sagetrieb, 1983--
Nominator, Rockefeller Grants in Writing, 1965-66
Consultant, The Voice Project, NEH, 1965-66
Editor, The Black Mountain Review, 1954-57

Lectures and readings at universities and community centers (including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Williams, Dartmouth, UC Berkeley, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Hull, Leeds, Sorbonne, McGill, Toronto, Tubingen, Freiberg, Heidelberg, Rome and others); also tours to Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Czechoslovakia, Israel, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, Latvia, Germany, Austria, Portugal, France, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Brazil and Paraguay.

Selected Publications

For Love. Scribners, 1962.
Words. Scribners, 1967.
Pieces. Scribners, 1969.
A Day Book. Scribners, 1972.
Selected Poems. Scribners, 1976; rev. University of California Press, 1991.
Hello. New Directions, 1978.
Later. New Directions, 1979.
Mirrors. New Directions, 1983.
Collected Poems, 1945-1975. University of California Press, 1983.
Memory Gardens. New Directions, 1986.
Windows. New Directions, 1990.
Echoes. New Directions, 1994.
Ligeia: A Libretto. Granary Books, 1996.
Life & Death. New Directions, 1998.
So There, Poems 1976-1983. New Directions, 1998.

The Island. Scribners, 1963.
The Gold Diggers. Scribners, 1965.
Mabel: A Story. Marion Boyars, 1976.
Collected Prose. Marion Boyars, 1984; University of California Press, 1987.

A Quick Graph. Four Seasons, 1970.
Was That a Real Poem & Other Essays. Four Seasons, 1979.
Collected Essays. University of California Press, 1989.
Tales out of School, Selected Interviews. University of Michigan Press, 1993.
Day Book of a Virtual Poet. Spuyten Duyvil, 1998
Editor: New American Story (with Donald M. Allen). Grove, 1965.
The New Writing in the USA (with Donald M. Allen). Penguin, 1967.
Charles Olson, Selected Writings. New Directions, 1967.
Walt Whitman, Selected Poems. Penguin, 1973.
The Essential Burns. Ecco, 1989.
Charles Olson, Selected Poems. University of California Press, 1993.

Areas of Study and Interest

Nineteenth and Twentieth Century American Poetry and Prosody.
World Literature.

Selected Secondary Materials

Mary Novik, Robert Creeley: An Inventory 1945-1970 (1973).
Cynthia Edelberg, Robert Creeley's Poetry: A Critical Introduction (1978).
Arthur L. Ford, Robert Creeley (1978).
Carroll F. Terrell, ed. Robert Creeley: The Poet's Workshop (1984).
John Wilson, ed. Robert Creeley's Life and Work: A Sense of Increment (1987).
Tom Clark, Robert Creeley and the Genius of the American Common Place. New Directions, 1993.

Listings in Who's Who et al.

Archive: Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, CA 94305-1022. (415) 725-1022.