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Robert Creeley Papers

Identifier: MS-MS-ms031

Series I, Correspondence, 1945-1968, bulking 1963-1968, including letters from Charles Olson, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, W.S.Merwin, Witter Bynner, Louis Zukofsky, Henry Rago, Fred Eckman, others and correspondence among Creeley, Walter Hamady and Henry Wenning on publication of The Charm, Words, For Joel, letters from Creeley to Dudley Wynn, University of New Mexico, others, c. 200 items;

Series 2, Literary manuscripts, inc. those of The Charm, Divisions & other early poems, Eight [single title poem], The Finger, For Joel, For Love, The Island [printer's typescript, see Creeley I] Pieces [Black Sparrow and Scribner's editions] Seven [single title poem] Words [Scribner's and Rob Run editions]; series 2/1, material by other writers, inc. Robert Duncan's A Dancing Concerning a Form of Women [poem] David Galler's Jennings, Justice, Berryman, Creeley [review] Walter Hamady's Plumfoot poems [proof] Charles Olson's review of For Love, William Packard's and Burton' Robie's reviews of For Love, exerpt from Kenneth Rexroth's Assays, essay by Fred Wah titled Linguistic structures in the poetry of Robert Creeley.

Series 3, Essays, articles and reviews by Creeley, including transcription of 1963 Vancouver Conference panel, account of panel with John Cage, Merce Cunningham, others, essays on the experience of writing poetry.

Series 4, Journals and diaries, notebook 1966, given Creeley by Allen Ginsberg, containing drafts of poems later published in Pieces, diary entries; notebook 1968, containing drafts of poems for Pieces.

Series 5, Editorial matter emanating from The Charm, For Joel, For love, New American poetry, Pieces [Scribner's] Selected writings of Charles Olson, Words [Rob Run and Scribner's]

Series 6, Clippings, miscellany, including German language radio scripts concerning Creeley, announcements of readings, conferences, publishers' announcements, clippings concerning Creeley.


  • Creation: 1944-1978


Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)


35.00 Boxes

Biographical Information

Robert Creeley (May 21, 1926 – March 30, 2005) was an American poet and author of more than sixty books. He is usually associated with the Black Mountain poets, though his verse aesthetic diverged from that school. He entered Harvard University in 1943, but left to serve in the American Field Service in Burma and India in 1944-1945. He returned to Harvard in 1946, but eventually took his BA from Black Mountain College in 1955, teaching some courses there as well.

From 1951 to 1955, Creeley and his first wife, Ann, lived on the Spanish island of Mallorca. There they started Divers Press and published works by Paul Blackburn, Robert Duncan, Charles Olson, and others. Creeley wrote about half of his published prose while living on the island, including a short story collection, The Gold Diggers, and a novel, The Island. He traveled between Mallorca and his teaching position at Black Mountain College in 1954 and 1955. They also saw to the printing of some issues of Origin and Black Mountain Review on Mallorca because the printing costs were significantly lower there.

Creeley received an MA from the University of New Mexico in 1960. He began his academic career by teaching at the prestigious Albuquerque Academy starting in around 1958 until about 1960 or 1961. Afterward, he wandered about a bit before settling into the English faculty of "Black Mountain II" at the University at Buffalo in 1967. He would stay at this post until 2003, when he received a post at Brown University. At the time of his death, he was in residence with the Lannan Foundation in Marfa, Texas.

Creeley first received fame in 1962 from his poetry collection For Love. It was hard for many readers and critics to immediately understand Creeley's reputation as an innovative poet, for his innovations were often very subtle; even harder for some to imagine that his work lived up to the Black Mountain tenet—which he articulated to Charles Olson in their correspondence, and which Olson popularized in his essay "Projective Verse," -- that "form is never more than an extension of content," for his poems were often written in couplet, triplet, and quatrain stanzas that break into and out of rhyme as happenstance appears to dictate.

Method of Acquisition

Accessions numbers: 750, 769, 782, 813, 821, 893, 900, 901, 941, 963, 1051, 1044, 1078, 1275, 1282, 1294


Robert Creeley Papers
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Revision Statements

  • 2021 February 16: Resource record updated in ArchiveSpace by Sarah Schnuriger.
  • 2020 November - 2021 February: Data cleanup provided by Kate Goldkamp.

Collecting Area Details

Part of the Manuscripts Collecting Area

Joel Minor
Olin Library, 1 Brookings Drive
MSC 1061-141-B
St. Louis MO 63130 US
(314) 935-5495