Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Robert Creeley, 1926-2005

It's taken the sad news of Robert Creeley's passing to bring me back here, just to mark in some way all that he was, in words and in person, to me among so many others. Those others have already said well much of what needs to be said -- the necessary clarity of a poetry based on hearing words, the generosity of the man as teacher, listener, and friend. There isn't really much that I can add that's particular to me. In fact, if I had to say what Bob was to so many younger poets, it's that he was particular to all of us, in company, as he might say. So my Bob story is the same as many others': at 17, discovering in his writing that "poet" was something I might be, at 24 discovering in his talk and presence that being a poet was a matter of finding endless resource in small talk, small occurrence, a life lived, and since then returning to his work and through him to others as one measure of what that life, and the company in which he continued to insist on locating it, might be.

Speaking of measure, the poem I wrote today in lieu of working looks for prosody to Williams and Zukofsky -- but those are measures I first heard clearly through Bob. There's also a story buried in there of his remarks to our Zukofsky reading group upon returning from a viewing of Babe with his daughter. That one came back to me this morning, a laugh breaking through the sadness walking around Lake Merritt. So thanks for that, too, Bob. I miss you.


Lines for Robert Creeley, 1926-2005

If between lines
Holes

To be a
Part

Of come apart—
Of

The time between
Lines

“A breathing crisis”
In

The mouth of
Speech

That is speech
This

I learned to
Hear

Hearing you who
Would

Not teach but
Heard

And I saw
You

Hearing it or
Heard

You seeing that
Hole

In words between
Words

That is to
Say

*

Between two it
Opens

As a hitch
Closing

Eyes the gasp
Listens

To the gap
Echoes

Beckon two to
Enter

Take a turn
Ancient

Turn of phrase
Taken

As literal together
Around

The lake say
Cloudless

In the gap
Between

Spring rains the
Covers

Blown back and
Nothing

To be seen
Beyond

That blue the
Housecat

There turns double
Enters

Space between lines
Crosshatched

In wire enclosing
Chickens

In their geodesic
Shelter

In fact of
Hunger

Mouth of appetite
Open

*

That dear pig
Parable

You called it
Returning

From the multiplex
Purposive

Called that wide
Wandering

Tight spots to
Extricate

Oneself from the
Slaughterhouse

For instance purpose
Animating

Meat’s escape into
Ongoing

“One’s simply food
Otherwise”

*

Liveforever flower in
Zukofsky read

In your measure
I thought

And think a
Form of

Selfishness in me
To be

Yours and name
What you

Would have to
Go on

Being in my
Rush to

Write and fill
That gap

In place of
Standing by

To let you
Pass there

But what thinks
In holes

Is all thought
The whole

Of where you
Are not

Now but fact
Of it


You said again
And again

The albumen blobs
Ducks leave

Underfoot here eucalyptus
Acrid after

Three days of
Wet what

Breathed in what
Walked over

What I stand
On beside

The blinding lake
The gap

In what’s to
See water

Flows into location
An indrawn

Hitch I can
Almost stand

*

The line turns
At its end

To holes in
Words in which

We meet to
Face each other

As what goes
In what turns

One to face
Another passing by

3 Comments:

Blogger Peggy said...

Thank you for sharing.

1:46 PM  
Blogger eastbay said...

Taylor,

Your music review columns in 7th grade (or whenever that was) were over my head, and your poetry is now, how ever many years later.

Yes, I've google stalked you, just because I can. I hope this note finds you, Devin, and your folks doing well.

I actually live in the SF area now, too, on the off chance that you might find grabbing a beer amusing some day.

Adios,
Bob Anderson, your skinny, nerdy 6th grade friend from Lake Forest.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Celia said...

Good to find this tonight.

I miss Bob, too. The firehouse long empty.

Best to you & Tanya.

10:03 PM  

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