Monday, August 27, 2012

Caliban's Senryu

The Collected Poems: 1945-1975The Collected Poems: 1945-1975 by Robert Creeley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted so much to love this book, because I have read several Creeley poems here and there and enjoy so much his collaboration with Steve Swallow (Home). But I could only like some of this massive collection. Much of it left me baffled.

I suppose what troubles me is that some of what I enjoyed in reading this book might well be said of poems I could not find much to get excited about. I love the haiku-like quality of several of the poems, and it is the short, compact pieces that got to me. However, several of the short poems just seemed to sit there. No image. No idea. Just words.

Despite the musicality of Creeley's work, several poems seemed to jumble syntax for its own sake and repeat words for no particular reason. Maybe I just missed it. But a few of the poems made me feel that E.E. Cummings and Williams Carlos Williams had created a kind of Caliban, at times tender, but often mumbling semi-coherently.

I did find some beautiful love/erotic poems. And despite my harsh reaction to my first reading, I do think I will need to return to this book and certainly to other Creeley collections. I haven't given up that I'll find more jewels.

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