Robert Creeley died on March 30, 2005 at the age of 78; he was an American poet and author of more than sixty books. Born in Arlington, Massachusetts on May 21, 1926 and grew up in Acton.
He was raised by his mother with one sister, Helen. At the age of four, he lost his left eye. He attended the Holderness School in New Hampshire.
He entered Harvard University in 1943, but left to serve in the American Field Service in Burma and India in 1944–1945.
He returned to Harvard in 1946, but eventually took his BA from Black Mountain College in 1955, teaching some courses there as well.
When Black Mountain closed in 1957, Creeley moved to San Francisco, where he met Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.
From 1951 to 1955, Creeley and his wife, Ann, lived with their three children on the Spanish island of Mallorca.
They went there at the encouragement of their friends, British writer Martin Seymour-Smith and his wife, Janet.
There they started Divers Press and published works by Paul Blackburn, Robert Duncan, Charles Olson, and others.
Creeley wrote about half of his published prose while living on the island, including a short-story collection, The Gold Diggers, and a novel, The Island.
He said that Martin and Janet Seymour-Smith are represented by Artie and Marge in the novel.
During 1954 and 1955, Creeley traveled back and forth between Mallorca and his teaching position at Black Mountain College.
He also saw to the printing of some issues of Origin and Black Mountain Review on Mallorca, because the printing costs were significantly lower there.
He began his academic career by teaching at the prestigious Albuquerque Academy starting in around 1958 until about 1960 or 1961.
In 1957, he met Bobbie Louise Hawkins; they lived together, common law marriage, until 1975. They had two children, Sarah and Katherine. He dedicated his book For Love to Bobbie.
Creeley read at the 1963 Vancouver Poetry Festival and at the 1965 Berkeley Poetry Conference. Afterward, he wandered about a bit before settling into the English faculty of “Black Mountain II” at the University at Buffalo in 1967.
He would stay at this post until 2003, when he received a post at Brown University.
From 1990 to 2003, he lived with his family in Black Rock, in a converted firehouse at the corner of Amherst and East Streets. At the time of his death, he was in residence with the Lannan Foundation in Marfa, Texas.
Creeley published more than sixty books of poetry in the United States and abroad, including If I Were Writing This (New Directions, 2003), Just in Time: Poems 1984-1994 (New Directions, 2001), Life & Death (New Directions, 1998), Echoes (New Directions, 1994),Selected Poems 1945-1990 (University of California Press, 1991), Memory Gardens (Marion Boyars Publishing, 1986), Mirrors (New Directions, 1983), The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1945-1975(University of California Press, 1982), Later (New Directions, 1979), The Finger (Black Sparrow Press, 1968), and For Love: Poems 1950-1960 (Scribner, 1962).
He served as New York state poet laureate from 1989 to 1991 and as the Samuel P. Capen Professor of Poetry and Humanities at the State University of New York, Buffalo.