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The Collected Poems, 1945-1975

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  1,193 ratings  ·  21 reviews

"The subtlest feeling for the measure that I encounter anywhere except in the verses of Ezra Pound."William Carlos Williams

"It is a study, how Creeley lands syntax down the alley, and his vocabularypure Englishto hit meters and rhymes all of which are spares and strikes."Charles Olson

"Robert Creeley's poetry is as basic and necessary as the air we breathe; as hospitable, p

Paperback, 681 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by University of California Press (first published February 16th 1983)
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The first volume of The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley begins with a quote from a poem by D. H. Lawrence...
Grief, grief I suppose and sufficient
Grief makes us free
To be faithless and faithful together
As we have to be.
- D. H. Lawrence, Hymn to Priapus

The first volume includes The Charm , For Love , Words , Pieces ,
In London , His Idea , Thirty Things , Backwards, and Away

In addition, the first volume includes Creeley's uncollected poems from this period...
I wanted you
without virtue
one of my favorites...

The Rain

All night the sound had
come back again,
and again falls
this quiet, persistent rain.

What am I to myself
that must be remembered,
insisted upon
so often? Is it

that never the ease,
even the hardness,
of rain falling
will have for me

something other than this,
something not so insistent --
am I to be locked in this
final uneasiness.

Love, if you love me,
lie next to me.
Be for me, like rain,
the getting out

of tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi-
lust of intentional indifference.
Be wet
Stephen Hebert
May 06, 2008 Stephen Hebert rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: poetry lovers
Recommended to Stephen by: some English grad student at UT
Shelves: poetry
Creeley is, quite simply, my favorite amongst 20th century poets. Whenever I'm feeling too bored or tired to invest in longer works, I pull this volume out and read a few poems. It's difficult for me to explain what I love about Creeley. I just get a kick out of the wit and creativity.

Perhaps I should invest in his newer collected poems (1975-2000), as I'm quite unfamiliar with his recent work.
I enjoyed many of these poems, but I think it would be very difficult for me to say why. Something about their openness, brevity, and weird line breaks, and the looseness of the syntax and grammar. Oddly textured, oddly rhythmic, a sort of Frank O-Hara-ish sweetness. Sometimes the poems get too obscure for me, or the play with syntax is so radical it makes me anxious (since it hinders understanding). I have a feeling this is poetry I could return to later and "get" better. At this point, I’m not ...more
You know, the apocryphal stars might have guessed that I would hate Robert Creeley, because he's so commonly compared to a 20th-century Whitman. My feelings for Whitman are cool at best, disdainful at worst.

Side note: I feel like Walt Whitman is so overrated. That sentimental old man.

I can't really articulate the way Creeley makes me feel. I read in a HONY post, once, that the marker of a good poem is that it changes you, that you are not the same person after you have read it. I don't really kn
Oct 12, 2014 Matthieu rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Matthieu by: Christina
I'm sorry it took me so long to 'get' you.
Michael Morris
I wanted so much to love this book, because I have read several Creeley poems here and there and enjoy so much his collaboration with Steve Swallow (Home). But I could only like some of this massive collection. Much of it left me baffled.

I suppose what troubles me is that some of what I enjoyed in reading this book might well be said of poems I could not find much to get excited about. I love the haiku-like quality of several of the poems, and it is the short, compact pieces that got to me. Howe
Kristin Winkler
This book changed the way I write poetry and possibly everything else. Creeley taught me to think about and hear every word I use, to use words as sparingly as possible, and to realize that even in the space between words there is incredible depth and emotion. Every writer should read this book to learn about exerting control over one's language, which ultimately translates to a control over ego in the writing process.
Bruce Carr
Made me change the way I looked at and wrote poetry.
Few books have meant as much to me over the years. Read the early work in conjunction with the letters Creeley and Olson, both very poor ("couldn't afford a stamp last week..."), were writing at the time for an experience as moving (and, for a young writer, as instructive) as any I know in literature.

Re-reading again, because oh, oh, Creeley, he has my heart forever.

/ Re-read from 15 February to 19 March 2011.
/ Finally acquired my own copy on 2010! :) Re-read on December 2010.
/ Borrowed time again between 2006-2007.
/ First read 2005 (borrowed from the library).
It took me a while to read this book, but only because it's so long. Once I started reading it, I couldn't stop. Robert Creeley has a unique way of using language and creating images. It doesn't always make logical sense, but that is when I like poetry best.
Tina Dalton
I didn't expect to enjoy modern poetry, if I'm honest. I don't normally seek out poetry in my reading life. And yet, I found that I unexpectedly loved some of Creeley's work. His poets regarding his children really hit home for me.
Matt Morris
Read my review of this & other books at
Nov 11, 2007 Russ rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any poet on the planet
I have read and re-read this book for the past 20 years of my life. I was lucky enough to live in Buffalo New York and got to know Bob Creeley. His inspiration to me has been the driving force in my life.
I love this book
Kraig Grady
Nov 06, 2009 Kraig Grady rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: maybe those who don't think they like poetry
When i got it i didn't realize this was his early stuff. He is extremely musical and have been more than impressed eating up half of it already.
A great book to carry around, a portable Creely representing his earlier work.
May 01, 2008 Allen is currently reading it
seminal, when I was young, now important to re-view
a lot to sort through but worth it
Robert Creeley is love.
Jun 28, 2007 Laurel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone with a beating heart
nothing sweeter
Robert Ullrich
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Robert Creeley was an American poet and author of more than sixty books. He is usually associated with the Black Mountain poets, though his verse aesthetic diverged from that school's. He was close with Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, John Wieners and Ed Dorn. He served as the Samuel P. Capen Professor of Poetry and the Humanities at State University of New York at Buffalo, and lived ...more
More about Robert Creeley...

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“What am I to myself
that must be remembered,
insisted upon
so often? Is it

that never the ease,
even the hardness,
of rain falling
will have for me

something other than this,
something not so insistent—
am I to be locked in this
final uneasiness.”
More quotes…