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Creeley, Robert Whitelocked

(21 May 1926–30 March 2005)
  • Stephen Fredman

Extract

Creeley, Robert White (21 May 1926–30 March 2005), poet and prose writer, was born Robert White Creeley in Arlington, Massachusetts, to Dr. Oscar Slade Creeley and Genevieve Jules Creeley. His childhood was marked by two tragedies, the loss of an eye in an accident and the death of his father, both by age five. His father had been a successful physician and ran a clinic, but his death at the onset of the Great Depression left Robert and his sister, Helen, to be raised in greatly reduced circumstances by their mother, who worked as a nurse, and other female relatives. In later life Creeley attributed an uncertainty about “manliness” to the dearth of male role models in his household; and to his family’s resolute puritanism he attributed both an early confusion toward sexuality and a sense of moral responsibility. As a teenager he attended Holderness School, a prep school in New Hampshire, and then entered Harvard in 1943. After a difficult year as a student he left to join the American Field Service as an ambulance driver in India and Southeast Asia, returning to Harvard following the war but leaving just short of a degree....

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