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Robert Creeley

Robert Creeley (1926-2005) was one of America’s most celebrated poets and for more than half a century a leading figure in the literary avant-garde. He published more than 60 books of poetry, numerous essays and articles and more than a dozen books of prose. A revised and expanded edition of his Collected Poems is due in 2006. He edited a selection of Whitman’s poems for Penguin’s Poet to Poet series in 1973. His essay for the Spring 2005 issue of VQR, “Reflections on Whitman in Age,” was one of his last published essays.


Reflections on Whitman in Age

Spring 2005 | Essays

Yet even the “world” itself is imagination, simply “the length of a human life,” as its etymology defines. The 150 years since Whitman's Leaves of Grass was first published is a moment in any world so conceived, and the bridges to and from such world are not determined by rational judgments or understanding. One knows, as is said—one recognizes the footprints on the floor of the caves in the Dordogne, dating back to the Upper Paleolithic—so very far, finally, from any intellectual understanding or resolution, however insistently attempted.