Saturday, September 19, 2009

Robert Creeley

Robert Creeley was an American poet known for his loose, discursive style of writing. His poems tend to be informal and conversational, but they often have an intrinsic structure that binds the words into a cohesive whole.

He was the kind of poet who wrote a lot, didn’t much revise, and tended to publish most of what flowed from pen to paper. This means that some of his work is a slog, although not a slog in the “extremely difficult and gnomic” sense of, say, John Ashbery. Reading his work can feel like listening to a friend natter on about nothing in particular – except that on occasion, this friend expresses herself in a way so lovely and transcendent that you want her to keep talking forever in hopes that it will happen again.

This is one of my favorite of his poems. It’s a translation of Lorca, but Creeley’s voice is very present.

After Lorca
(For M. Marti)

The Church is a business, and the rich

are the business men.

When they pull on the bells, the

poor come pilling in and when a poor man dies, he has a wooden

cross, and they rush through the ceremony.

But when a rich man dies, they

drag out the Sacrament

and a golden cross, and go doucement, doucement

to the ceremony.

And the poor love it

and think it's crazy.

Robert Creeley On Wikipedia

Robert Creeley on

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