So, I guess Robert Creeley has died. I’m hardly qualified to say anything on the matter (the only work by Robert Creeley I actually own in print are the few poems of his in Donald Allen’s New American Poetry, although this is a situation I’ve been meaning to remedy for a while) but ever since late last night when I heard that he had died I’ve been feeling that his death is somehow a watershed event. It seems to symbolise to me the passing of what Allen called the “third generation” of American modernist poetry from the realm of the contemporary into that of history. I have no idea why I have this feeling, but it has stayed with me all day. We could well be witnessing the end of an era (if you don’t already believe that the era in question ended long ago).
Creeley made a request once, at the end of a poem:
Oh lady, grant me time,
please, to finish my rhyme.
I can only hope the request was granted.