my grandfather, robert creeley


As many of you know, my grandfather, Robert Creeley, passed away on March 30th. I will miss him greatly — he was an amazing person, a great poet, and a wonderful grandfather too. I last saw him in Boulder and we watched the first of the presidential debates together with my grandmother, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, and Anselm and Jane Hollo. It was a lively time with good company, which is what is wanted in bad political times. Later in the week my grandfather gave a wonderful reading at the Naropa Institute, full of intelligence and generous heart. My grandfather’s work always was about politics in the sense that he desired nothing more than that we become the possibility of being human that has always been present in language, in art, and in company. This is expressed in his 1969 poem “America,” written during the Vietnam War, a poem that sadly still refers in exactly the same sense it did when it was written:


America, you ode for reality!
Give back the people you took.

Let the sun shine again
on the four corners of the world

you thought of first but do not
own, or keep like a convenience.
People are your own word, you
invented that locus and term.
Here, you said and say, is
where we are. Give back

what we are, these people you made,
us, and nowehere but you to be.

And here’s another poem, from his 1998 collection, Life and Death:


Now I recognize
it was always me
like a camera
set to expose

itself to a picture
or a pipe
through which the water
might run

or a chicken
dead for dinner
or a plan
hatched in the head

of a dead man.
Nothing so wrong
when one considered
how it all began.

It was Zukofsky’s
Born very young into a world
already very old…
The century was well along

when I came in
and now that it’s ending,
I realize it won’t be long.

But couldn’t it all have been
a little nicer,
as my mother’d say. Did it
have to kill everything in sight,

did right always have to be so wrong?
I know this body is impatient.
I know I constitute only a meager voice and mind.
Yet I loved, I love.

I want no sentimentality.
I want no more than home.


One Response to “my grandfather, robert creeley”

  1. 1 tuktuk

    i am sorry to hear about your grandfathers passing, but very comforted by your/his phrase re: the possibility of being human. nice.
    also nice to see your blog up and running. thanks for sharing. beautiful pictures….

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