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April 1, 2005


Race to the Pearly Gates*

In the excitement of this Sweeps Week of Death, one passing has slipped by without much notice - poet Robert Creeley died on Wednesday. I have a particular soft spot for Creeley, because "I Know a Man" is the first poem I ever learned by heart:

As I sd to my
friend, because I am
always talking, - John, I
sd, which was not his
name, the darkness sur-
rounds us, what
can we do against
it, or else, shall we &
why not, buy a goddamn big car,
drive, he sd, for
christ's sake, look
out where yr going.

At my tender age, I didn't know what the hell this poem meant. I just knew that my dad, who studied with Creeley at SUNY Buffalo, liked it a lot. Also, it had a swear word in it. (For the record, these are the same reasons I liked "Taxi Driver" at an age where any responsible parent would never have let me watch it.)

Not everyone enjoyed Robert Creeley as much as my father did; John Simon famously said about his poems: "They are short; they are not short enough." Which is how I feel about most Simon reviews, so I guess we're even.

Creeley, Johnny Cochran, Frank Perdue, and probably by tomorrow, the Pope. I can't imagine a better card game than that.

My father adds: I've been reading the obit in the Times as it has evolved from note to notice, the photo - that's as he looked when I was in his "Thematic Developments in American Poetry" course. His first day, he shrugged, "I don't know what that means."

(* tx Kathleen)

categories: Celebrities, Culture, News
posted by Emily at 2:25 PM | #

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