Robert Bly in This World

Robert Bly in This World

by Thomas R. Smith
     
 

In 1958, a powerful new voice in American poetry emerged from the windswept prairie farmland of western Minnesota. Beginning with publication of The Fifties, “a magazine of poetry, translation and general opinion,” Robert Bly’s transformative poetry, translations, essays, and poetry readings rolled across the country like an invigorating

Overview

In 1958, a powerful new voice in American poetry emerged from the windswept prairie farmland of western Minnesota. Beginning with publication of The Fifties, “a magazine of poetry, translation and general opinion,” Robert Bly’s transformative poetry, translations, essays, and poetry readings rolled across the country like an invigorating prairie storm.

In his eighty-third year, to celebrate acquisition of his archives, the Elmer L. Andersen Library at the University of Minnesota sponsored a major conference, Robert Bly in This World. This is the record of that historic event. Scholars and authors from America and England presented papers on Bly’s poetry, translations, criticism, mythopoetic storytelling, and other major achievements, including his annual Great Mother and Minnesota Men’s conferences. A trip to Madison, Minnesota, where Bly’s writing studio has been restored and preserved on the Lac Qui Parle County fairgrounds, is also chronicled here, plus intimate appreciations by Bly’s friends and admirers Coleman Barks, Donald Hall, Jane Hirshfield, Lewis Hyde, and others. A vintage documentary on Bly, A Man Writes to a Part of Himself, screened at the conference, is included as a DVD in a supplement to the book.

In Robert Bly’s long career as a poet and translator, he has authored more than forty volumes. His pioneering prose explorations of ancient stories include the international bestseller Iron John. His latest collection of poems, Talking into the Ear of a Donkey, was released in 2011.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"I had never even heard Rumi’s name before attending Robert Bly’s Great Mother Conference in 1976. . . . As he handed me my copy, he said, ‘These poems need to be released from their cages.’"—Coleman Barks

"Robert Bly’s antiwar poetry . . . engages in mental combat so as to depress the corporeal. I deeply believe that there are men and women my age who are alive today because we had people like Robert doing that work in the sixties."—Lewis Hyde

"We do what we must to keep the earth alive and our own species awake to its own full nature, for our own rescue and joy, and for the rescue and joy of those who will follow. This is the vow Robert Bly has always embodied, living as he has in sentinel alertness."—Jane Hirshfield

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816677702
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
Publication date:
05/26/2011
Pages:
308
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Thomas R. Smith is the author of five books of poems, most recently The Foot of the Rainbow (2010). He edited the festschrift Walking Swiftly: Writing and Images on the Occasion of Robert Bly’s 65th Birthday (1992). He teaches at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

James P. Lenfestey, a former editorial writer for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, is the author of a collection of personal essays and four collections of poems. He convened the conference Robert Bly in This World.

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