On Earth: Last Poems and an Essay

Overview

Robert Creeley, one of the most significant American poets of the twentieth century, helped define an emerging counter-tradition to the prevailing literary establishment—a postwar poetry originating with Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Louis Zukofsky and expanding through the lives and works of Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, and others. When Robert Creeley died in March 2005, he was working on what was to be his final book of poetry.
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Overview

Robert Creeley, one of the most significant American poets of the twentieth century, helped define an emerging counter-tradition to the prevailing literary establishment—a postwar poetry originating with Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Louis Zukofsky and expanding through the lives and works of Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, and others. When Robert Creeley died in March 2005, he was working on what was to be his final book of poetry.
In addition to more than thirty new poems, many touching on the twin themes of memory and presence, this moving collection includes the text of the last paper Creeley gave—an essay exploring the late verse of Walt Whitman. Together, the essay and the poems are a retrospective on aging and the resilience of memory that includes tender elegies to old friends, the settling of old scores, and reflective poems on mortality and its influence on his craft. On Earth reminds us what has made Robert Creeley one of the most important and affectionately regarded poets of our time.

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Editorial Reviews

D. H. Tracy
It is gratifying to see, in his last acts of writing, the intensity that kept these contradictions alive in his person.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Creeley, who died last year at 78, is among the American masters born in the 1920s, a generation that includes John Ashbery and Adrienne Rich. This slim volume, filled out with the cogent essay "Reflections on Whitman in Age," presents 31 poems of varying quality, from bad to sublime, and is a fitting final volume for a poet of relentless experimentation and major achievement. A jingly piece of antiwar propaganda, "Help!" seems specifically designed for those who aren't regular readers of verse, while "Caves," the longest poem in the volume, meanders. But in addresses to poets like John Wieners, Paul Blackburn and Ed Dorn, Creeley attains a loose intimacy that feels like friendship, and the final "Valentine for You," here in its entirety, is likely to be as associated with Creeley as "Crossing the Bar" is with Tennyson: "Where from, where to/ the thought to do-// Where with, whereby/ the means themselves now lie-// Wherefor, wherein/ such hopes of reconciling heaven// Even the way is changed/ without you, even the day." (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520259904
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 104
  • Sales rank: 966,511
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Creeley (1926-2005) has published more than sixty books of poetry, prose, essays, interviews and in the United States and abroad, including If I Were Writing This, Selected Poems 1945-1990, The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1945-1975, and The Island. His many honors include the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award, the Frost Medal, the Shelley Memorial Award, and the Bollingen Prize in Poetry. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Distinguished Professor in the Graduate Program in Literary Arts at Brown University.

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Table of Contents

When I think 3
"To think ..." 5
Old song 6
For Ric, who loved this world 7
Oh, do you remember ... 8
Paul 10
Mediterranean I 12
Mediterranean II 13
War 14
Talking 15
Bye and bye 16
For John Wieners 17
After school 20
Help! 21
Shimmer 25
Sad walk 28
Caves 29
Absence 38
The ball 39
Which way 40
On Earth 41
Saying something 42
The red flower 43
The puzzle 45
A full cup 47
Old story 49
Later (Wrightsville Beach) 50
Dover Beach (again) 51
Echo 52
Wish 53
Here 54
To my/little : /Pen's Valentine 55
Valentine for you 56
Reflections on Whitman in age 59
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