People / Robert Creeley

Writer, educator. Robert Creeley was born in Arlington, Massachusetts on May 21, 1926. A poet and leading figure in the literary avant-garde, Creeley wrote in free verse with short lines and stanzas, emphasizing the personal, the emotional, the lyrical, and the improvisational. His work has been compared to the likes of Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Allen Ginsberg, and those associated with the Black Mountain School in North Carolina, most notably the poet Charles Olson. Creeley cited the influence of Abstract Expressionist painters like Jackson Pollock and jazz musicians like Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. Creeley attended Harvard University from 1943 to 1946, taking time out from 1944 to 1945 to serve in the American Field Service in India during the Second World War. He published his first poem in 1946 in the Harvard magazine, Wake. Creeley received a Bachelor of Arts from Black Mountain College (1955) and his Master of Arts from the University of New Mexico (1960).

His teaching career included engagements at Black Mountain College, Albuquerque Academy, the University of New Mexico, the University of British Columbia, San Francisco State University, the State University of New York at Buffalo, and Brown University. Creeley published more than sixty books of verse and more than a dozen of prose. Notable achievements include the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award, the Frost Medal, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, and two Fulbright fellowships. He served as New York State Poet (1989-1991) and was elected Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets (1999). Creeley passed away in 2005.