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This review is taken from PN Review 45, Volume 12 Number 1, September - October 1985.

SUDDEN ENTRIES Robert Creeley, Memories (Pig Press) £2.50
Robert Creeley, Mirrors (Marion Boyars) £4.95
John Welch, Out Walking (Anvil Press Poetry) £4.00

Two new books by Robert Creeley mark the re-emergence, after a few years' inactivity, of one of the major figures of post-war American poetry. After his early projectivist verse, with its presentation of reality as process, and his subsequent adoption of a manner of serial composition (freely associative 'scribbling'), Creeley mellowed into a meditative mode with Later. This quality is developed in Mirrors and Memories; their very titles suggest a traditional lyricism of reflection and recollection. Although the writing is obsessional, it never settles into single argument, or 'philosophy'. A number of the poems here are among his best.

The world has never been a focused clarity in Creeley's tense, rhythmically taut and introspective poems, but it has never before been a 'blur', an enigmatic exterior, presented to the gaze of a self burdened with unaccommodated desires.


    I look out
at all this demanding world

and try to put it quietly back,
from me, say, thank you,
I've already had some
though I haven't

and would like to.


Although the earth is 'a waste, inhuman', there is still optimism for a 'human world', though it is increasingly present only in 'echoes', in words, 'these ripples of sound, poor/useless prides of mind'. The personal ('these retroactive small/instances of feeling') may still be the universal, as they 'reach out for a common/ground'. Yet the dialectic between self and world can only define the ...


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