Robert Creeley on Artists & Poets, 1950-1965


“Coming of age in the forties, in the chaos of the Second World War, one felt the kinds of coherence that might have been fact of other time and place were no longer possible. There seemed no logic, so to speak, that could bring together all the violent disparities of that experience. The arts especially were shaken and the picture of the world that might previously have served them had to be reformed….

“…As a young man trying to get a purchase on what most concerned me–the issue of my own life and its statement in writing–I knew little if anything of what might be happening. I had gone through a usual education in the East, had witnessed in shock the terrifying conclusion of humans killing one another, had wobbled back to college, married (mistakenly) in the hope of securing myself emotionally, had wandered into the woods just that I had no competence to keep things together in the city, even left the country itself, with my tolerant wife, hoping that some other culture might have news for me I could at last make use of and peace with. But the world, happily or unhappily, offers only one means of leaving, and I was returned without relief again and again to the initial need: a means of making articulate the world in which I and all like me did truly live.”

– Robert Creeley