Cover image for If I were writing this
If I were writing this
Creeley, Robert, 1926-2005.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : New Directions Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
103 pages ; 21 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3505.R43 I36 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



New poetry from the winner of the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Before Columbus Fdtn., and a Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

Author Notes

Robert Creeley was born in Arlington, Massachusetts, on May 21, 1926. He attended Harvard University and served in the American Field Service in India and Burma during World War II. In 1960, he received a Master's Degree from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

He taught at Black Mountain College, an experimental arts college in North Carolina, and was the editor of the Black Mountain Review. During his lifetime, he published more than sixty books of poetry including For Love: Poems 1950-1960, The Finger, Later, Mirrors, Memory Gardens, Echoes, Life and Death, and If I Were Writing This. In 1960, he won the Levinson Prize for a group of 10 poems published in Black Mountain Review. He also won the Shelley Memorial Award in 1981, the Frost Medal in 1987, and the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award. He served as New York State Poet Laureate from 1989 to 1991.

He also wrote the novel The Island and a collection of short stories entitled The Gold Diggers. He edited several books including Charles Olson's Selected Poems, The Essential Burns, and Whitman: Selected Poems. He taught English at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He died on March 30, 2005 at the age of 78.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Creeley won the Bolligen Prize in 1999, a Before Columbus Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000, and a Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001 following his magisterial, darkly nuanced last collection, Life & Death (1998). This book seems at first like the slightly lighter continuing of that book's themes and modes. Poems linger over friends and pleasures with frequent rhyme while contemplating "the one who's in between/ the others who have come and gone." One of a number of poems for or involving Allen Ginsberg find it has been "No contest./ One's one again. It's done." "Supper," meanwhile, becomes an occasion for darkly celebrating cycles of continuance: "I am ahead. I am not dead./ Shovel it in." The 54 tiny quatrains of "Drawn & Quartered" make their little cuts with serrated precision: " `Man, this stuff/ is rough!'/ `What would you pay/ to make it go way?' " As with Ashbery, who is Creeley's exact contemporary, it is difficult to do more with this late work than to say that no one else could have written it, and that it is marvelous and oddly summative. Some readers will think of Stevens, others of William Bronk, still others of Wordsworth or John Clare at moments. Filled with snapshot-like memories, asides on physical difficulties and explicit exhortations ("Please, don't put/ if you can help it, your loved ones in/ a care facility, they will only die there"), the last few poems depart from Creeley's minimalist implosion to track twined past and present. This aphoristic, playful, loving and sharply focused book gives readers its speaker's precise location: "Physical hill stands my will./ Mind's ambience alters all." (Sept. 29) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

A central figure in contemporary American poetry, now in his late seventies, Creeley continues his lifelong concern with "short and clear" perception and experimental openness. Avoiding rhyme and the constraints of poetic diction, the inquiring, spare language of a Creeley poem evokes the dynamic and intricate process of a person thinking. (Typical titles of poems are "Memory" and "Thinking.") As his erudite consciousness plays over "the sweetening dark," the poems take on a "flickering ambience" ("the underthought of language") that is both casual and complex. Representing the actuality of modern consciousness as it confronts an absence of objectively ordered reality ("faint edges of place, things, not yet quite seen") is not only a matter of "connivance" but an act of responsibility to one's self. Full of nuances, Creeley's refreshing recent poems, probing aging, family relationships, identity, memory, and time, continue to challenge readers with multiple possibilities of language and thought. (The best poem in this collection is titled "Possibilities.") He concludes happily, "So feeling all there is,/ one's hands and heart grow full." Recommended for all libraries.-Frank Allen, Northampton Community Coll., Tannersville, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.