I find myself needing to say something about Bob Creeley, and poetryetc, my
real home on the web, is a good place to do it. He was to my mind the best,
truest voice in the US version of our language, totally dedicated to his
art and the craft that carried it, and a model of integrity as an artist.
His readings, even in the early days when he was often incoherent from the
various substances he'd consumed, were as wonderful as his poems--he'd talk
about whatever was on his mind, developing complex thought from simple
premises in his inimitable supple and surprising sentences, and he'd read
maybe one, maybe two new poems, and maybe a poem by someone else. It was
like being in his living room or across a dining table--that intimate, and
so much the same person on all occasions.
Bob and I weren't intimate, but we knew each other, and there was a bond of
affection--the same could be said by hundreds of other poets. He was great
friends with Paul Blackburn, my Carlos' biological father, who was one year
his senior. They corresponded voluminously in the late 50s and early
sixties--an amazing correspondence of young poets finding their mastery
that hopefully will surface into print some day. They had a violent
falling-out sometime in the 60s, apparently occasioned by a fight between
their then wives, and it was some years before there was even a partial
reconciliation. Something like 15 years ago Creeley contacted Carlos, out
of the blue. He wanted to meet him. Carlos was, you can imagine, shy about
it, but I pushed him, and they formed a strong bond--a bond of equals, or
something like it, because Bob was incapable of putting on airs. Bob was
completing a circle, and for Carlos it was both an affirmation as a young
poet and a gift of continuity with a father he barely remembered.
What a lovely, generous man he was, and how well he aged. I miss knowing
that he's there.
There aren't many mediocre poems in his oeuvre. If I had my books I suppose
I'd read The Finger, from Pieces, tonight, or some of the late, short
books--intricately connected sequences of poems about aging and the
approach of death and the web of affections.
My window faces west, towards high cirro-cumulus clouds lit right now by
the sun already sunk below the horizon, and now those clouds have become a
web of violet, a soft pink bank of stratocumulus darkening beneath them.
And now for a moment the sky behind the church across the street is purple.
What else is there but to catch at the moment?