Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Robert Creeley

Creeley is one of those fabulously unclassifiable poets. I have heard him compared to other poets, even seen him labeled and placed in a "school," but I still think his work is in a class of its own. Some of it is clear and simple, some of it is obscure. Much of it is heartfelt, much of it is reserved. Even the more opaque of his verses seems to contain their own logic, like a painting that is well made but whose meaning is a mystery.

Who was it who said, "A poem should not mean, but be"?

Here is the Robert Creeley poem that showed up yesterday on my Poetry Daily desk calendar:


Tunneling through the earth
this way, I didn't know

the surface was where
I had come from. Dreams.

1 comment:

  1. The answer to your question is Archibald MacLeish, who used to live in Conway.

    I have to say I find much of Creeley's work to be a bunch of bland nothings. However, I read one of his poems analyzed, I think by Edward Hirsch, which illustrated some poetic architecture was going on. The example, Dreams: Kinda ho hum for me. The kinda thing I often find in The New Yorker.

    But I agree with the idea that a poem is not its paraphrase ("should not mean, but be.")