Born in Arlington, buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Robert Creeley (1926–2005) wrote poems that changed the landscape of American poetry. His early work was so distinctive and influential that “Creeleyesque” became an adjective. Once described as a hip Emily Dickinson, Creeley quipped that was fine with him because she was hip enough already. Creeley wrote for over fifty years and became one of the most beloved poets of his generation. Yet throughout his career Creeley received both high praise and dismissive criticism. In this class we will look closely at Creeley’s early work and poetics, track how his poetry evolved, and consider criticisms of his work as well as tributes from jazz musicians and fellow poets. A packet of readings will be provided for each class. Whether you’ve never read a poem by Creeley or are a lifelong fan, come join us for this journey through his life and poetry.
Kenny Likis is an aspiring poet and retired teacher. Long ago he wrote his master’s thesis on Robert Creeley’s early poetry and followed Creeley’s work from that point forward. He lives in Cambridge.