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American Literary Studies

Robert Creeley Papers

The Collection

Location: Department of Special Collections, Green Library

Call Number: M0662

Size: c. 360 linear feet

Finding Guide: A printed version is available in the reading room of the Department of Special Collections. Electronic versions of this finding guide are also available. If you have Microsoft's Internet Explorer version 6.0 or higher, click here to connect to the XML version on the Stanford server; if not, click here for the html version on the Online Archives of California server.

Research Access and Use: Materials in the Department of Special Collections are non-circulating and must be used in the Special Collections' Reading Room in the Cecil H. Green Library. The Reading Room is open 10:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday. Photocopies, photographs, and microfilm can be made of some materials in the collections. For more information about the collections and access policies, please contact Special Collections by telephone at (650) 725-1022, by electronic mail at or by regular mail at the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94305-6004.

Career of Robert Creeley (1926 - 2005)

American poet, novelist, short story writer, editor, and essayist, Creeley was born in Arlington, Massachusetts in 1926, and attended Harvard before receiving degrees from Black Mountain College and the University of New Mexico. He was the editor of the short-lived but highly influential magazine, The Black Mountain Review (1954 -1957), through which he developed a lasting association with members of the 1950s avant-garde, including Charles Olson, with whom he collaborated to produce Mayan Letters (1953). He was a presence in the poetry renaissance of San Francisco, beginning a life-long association with members of the Beat Generation, including Kerouac, Ginsberg, McClure and others with whom he has maintained a lengthy correspondence. Known principally as a poet, Creeley published thirty volumes of verse since 1952, including For Love: Poems 1950-1960 (1962) and Words (1967). His work is now available in Collected Poems (1982) as well as Selected Poems (1991). Creeley remained a significant influence in the contemporary literary scene, reflected in his highly regarded Collected Essays (1989). He was also the author of a novel, The Island (1963), and a collection of short stories, The Gold Diggers (1954). Creeley taught at the University of New Mexico, the State University of New York in Buffalo, and Brown University. Robert Creeley died on March 30, 2005.

Highlights and Research Potential of the Creeley Papers

The Papers feature Creeley's own working manuscripts for his poems and critical writing, both published and unpublished. These appear in a variety of formats: notebooks, filled with autograph drafts of poems; typescripts, often annotated in holograph; frequent pieces written on random scraps of papers, as well as many floppy disks (post-1988) containing files for individual poems and works of prose. The Papers also contain approximately 20,000 personal letters from other writers and artists, including large correspondence files with Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Louis Zufofsky, Charles Olson, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Duncan, and Denise Levertov as well as such visual artists as R. B. Kitaj, Robert Indiana, Jim Dine, and John Chamberlain. Also important is Creeley's business correspondence, which includes letters to him from his editors and publishers, royalty statements, correspondence about readings and lectures, the tapes and corrected transcripts of interviews as well as the production materials for his books- the designer layouts, galleys, and page proofs that trace the text's literal manufacture. Present as well are tapes of his readings, photographs of family and colleagues, the manuscripts sent him by other writers, and innumerable miscellaneous documents reflecting his life and career as poet, critic, editor, publisher and artistic collaborator.

The papers are arranged in fifteen series:

1. Correspondence

2. Manuscripts by Creeley

3. Manuscripts by others

4. Business records

5. Black Mountain Review / Divers Press Editor Files

6. Academic records and teaching materials

7. Interviews

8. Announcements

9. Memorabilia

10.Photographs and Artwork

11. Publications

12. Audiovisual Materials

13. Computer files

14. Creeley Family Ephemera

15. Oversize Materials.

Selected Biography and Criticism

  • Allen, Donald, editor, Robert Creeley, Contexts of Poetry: Interviews, 1961 - 1971, Four Seasons Foundation, 1973.
  • Edelberg, Cynthia Dubin, Robert Creeley's Poetry: A Critical Introduction, University of New Mexico Press, 1978.
  • Ford, Arthur L., Robert Creeley, Twayne, 1978.
  • Paul, Sherman, The Lost America of Love, Louisiana State University Press, 1981.
  • Sheffler, Ronald Anthony, The Development of Robert Creeley's Poetry, University of Massachusetts, 1971.
  • Wilson, John, editor, Robert Creeley's Life and Work: A Sense of Increment, University of Michigan Press, 1987.

Bibliography of Robert Creeley

  • Novik, Mary, Robert Creeley: An Inventory, 1945-1970, Kent State University Press, 1973.
  • Murray, Timothy and Boardway, Stephen, "Year by Year Bibliography of Robert Creeley." In Robert Creeley: The Poet's Workshop. Ed. Carroll F. Terrell. Orono, Maine: Nationbal Poetry Foundation, 1984, P. 313- 374.

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Last modified: July 3, 2006

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