Six Robert Creeley Books from New Directions


Robert Creeley has been one of my favorite poets for a long time.  His almost-free verse style was one of the first big inspirations to me writing my own poetry (so thanks, Bob).  These poems grow better and better over time and I have found re-reads to be greatly rewarded o I will always be glad to sit down with one of his books and be entertained, impressed, and inspired by Mr. Creeley.

Known for publishing work by the most innovative, avant-garde, and inventive writers of the 20th century, New Directions boasts ten titled by Mr. Creeley in their collection.  I often think it would be fun to be an art director at New Directions, as their covers always strive for a consistent feel with the content inside…consistent or clever, usually something representative of the poems inside. Of the Ten Creeley titles put out by ND I wanted to share a few of them with you.  These covers all feature monochrome photos most of which feature somber, contemplative images of everyday things which don’t always get noticed (transom windows and the lights they let in, a dying bush by a walkway).  I might be most partial to the little joke on Hello: a printing of some of Creeley’s journals is accompanied by a photo of a crowd, presumably at a sporting event – I love the thought of a rowdy sports crowd gathered to hear thoughts of a poet.  Anyway, here are those covers and that poem.


For Love

Yesterday I wanted to
speak of it, that sense above
the others to me
important because all

that I know derives
from what it teaches me.
Today, what is it that
is finally so helpless,

different, despairs of its own
statement, wants to
turn away, endlessly
to turn away.
Creeley-EchoesIf the moon did not …
no, if you did not
I wouldn’t either, but
what would I not

do, what prevention, what
thing so quickly stopped.
That is love yesterday
or tomorrow, not

now. Can I eat
what you give me. I
have not earned it. Must
I think of everything

as earned. Now love also
becomes a reward so
remote from me I have
only made it with my mind.
Creeley-WindowsHere is tedium,
despair, a painful
sense of isolation and
whimsical if pompous

self-regard. But that image
is only of the mind’s
vague structure, vague to me
because it is my own.

Love, what do I think
to say. I cannot say it.
What have you become to ask,
what have I made you into,

robert creeley hello new directions paperbookscompanion, good company,
crossed legs with skirt, or
soft body under
the bones of the bed.

Nothing says anything
but that which it wishes
would come true, fears
what else might happen in
some other place, some
other time not this one.
A voice in my place, an
echo of that only in yours.

Let me stumble into
not the confession but
the obsession I begin with
now. For you

also (also)
some time beyond place, or
place beyond time, no
mind left to

say anything at all,
that face gone, now.
Into the company of love
it all returns.

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