Garden Rant
Gardening While Intoxicated
Buffalo Spree


A year ago, Licata became the fourth member of a group of garden bloggers with an attitude. Garden Rant one of my favorites: A blend of gossip, news, crusade and, yes, raw rant, it blows the cobwebs out of gardening's mustier corners.

–Adrian Higgins,
Washington Post

... co-curators Elizabeth Licata and Amy Cappellazzo have magnificently transcended the limitations of what is, at bottom, a show of books. ...Preciousness—the bane of such exhibitions—is nowhere in evidence.

–Richard Huntington,
Buffalo News

"Garden Walk Buffalo: A Celebration of Urban Gardens," is a tour guide into dozens of gardens during the annual event held the last full weekend in July. It's knowingly written by Buffalo Spree editor Elizabeth Licata, and packed with gorgeous photographs...

–Mark Sommer,
Buffalo News

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Art Writer

Robert Creeley's Collaborations: A History

See information about the exhibition

Robert Creeley's connection with art is central to his writing. It began in 1953, when Creeley first saw the work of Jackson Pollock at Fachetti Gallery in Paris. As he says, "I was attracted to the fact that this painting was not verbal, that it's a whole way of apprehending or stating the so-called world without using words as an initiation. However one feels about it is either prior to words or contingent with words. It's a way of stating what one feels without describing it."1 Creeley took the energy generated by the 50's scene, nurtured it, and has since performed successive mutations, creating a continuum of relationships with artists that is uniquely transformational. The actual history involves a long chain of chance encounters, working relationships, and friend-of-a-friend introductions, producing dramatically different results, but the impulse behind them--from R. B. Kitaj to Francesco Clemente--always comes from the symbiosis between poet and painter, each acting as the other's ideal audience.

Creeley's working attitudes are formed always by what seems real and immediate. Personal experience is not only a hallmark of his poetry, but also central when-ever he speaks or writes about art. Three anecdotes found in Creeley's 1974 essay, "On the Road: Notes on Artists and Poets," typically illustrate the poet's take on art and artists. In 1955, in a East Village restaurant, Creeley witnesses an argument between his first wife and Philip Guston that comes to symbolize not only the anger and skepticism surrounding gestural abstract painting but, more essentially, his and Charles Olson's attempts to break away from content-dependent verse. In the same essay, Creeley delights in John Chamberlain's remark at Black Mountain that "a sculpture is something that if it falls on your foot, it will break it," a phrase he repeats in successive essays on art and artists. Later in "On the Road," he mentions Franz Kline's sad stories in the Cedar Bar, stories which, in Creeley's words, "locate the most articulate sense of human reality in seemingly casual conversation." These simple remembrances sum up an era for the poet. They are part of the foundation for his lifelong affiliation with artists.2

Throughout his career, Creeley has striven to extend the context of his words, reading with jazz musicians, dancers, and singers, or lending his poetry to special productions. In his work with artists, he also seeks to increase the energy level of the words, both as physical objects and as potentially meaningful associations. The collaborative projects started over forty years ago when, just before his tenure as an instructor at Black Mountain College, Creeley completed The Immoral Proposition (1953) with French painter René Laubiès. Since then, Creeley has worked with a wide range of artists, including Georg Baselitz, John Chamberlain, Francesco Clemente, Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, Cletus Johnson, R.B. Kitaj, Marisol, Archie Rand, and Susan Rothenberg, as well as fellow writers Tom Clark, Fielding Dawson, and Bobbie Louise Hawkins. Archived in two university libraries and collected in a number of public and private collections, the portfolios and books--about 50 bound and unbound objects--include a variety of media and strategies, including rubber stamps, rubbings, etchings, lithography, photogravures, Xeroxes, and screenprints.

Creeley's association with René Laubiès is documented in a copious 1953-57 correspondence with Jargon Press publisher Jonathan Williams, who had been a student at Black Mountain College. Speaking of a possible project with the painter, Creeley, then living in Majorca with his first wife and children, mentions a visit from the artist and a suggestion that Laubiès could provide "inks" for a series of poems Creeley had just finished. The Immoral Proposition was the poet's first book with Jargon, a natural venue for publishing cross-disciplinary work. Williams knew printmaking and photography as well as wrote; he provided many illustrations for early Jargon books himself. Jargon's earliest publications were much like 'zines, often containing one poem and one drawing, simply folded to make its own cover. Like many small presses, Jargon started out as the sole voice for a marginalized group of writers (including Williams) who couldn't get published anywhere else (with some exceptions, such as Cid Corman's magazine Origin). In spite of Jargon's modestly scaled books and print runs, the voices that got heard included the most important and influential in contemporary letters, among them such writers as Charles Olson (who taught at Black Mountain during the '50s), Denise Levertov, Joel Oppenheimer, Kenneth Patchen, and many others.

Williams remembers, "In the class, Olson would talk about the difficulties of achieving publication in the commercial world, how difficult it would be for us. But we always preached the old John Dewey gospel: doing it yourself, becoming self-initiating. And all that sounded pretty good. Joel Oppenheimer had actually done a little typesetting up the hill at Hadley College so we used the old Vandercoch press there. We decided to print Jargon #1 that summer, do 150 copies and basically give it away to the people at the college. It was a community effort. We asked Rauschenberg for a drawing to use with Oppenheim's poem, "The Dancer"; it now turns out it was the first drawing he had been asked to contribute to a publication. That's the birth of Jargon."3

After Williams was more or less forced into a stint in the Army, he found a way to print Jargon publications where he was stationed in Germany. Creeley had his own Divers Press imprint in Majorca, and was publishing books by Larry Eigner, Douglas Woolf, Irving Layton, and others. Their constant communications about what to print and how to print it demonstrate a painstaking attention to such details as typefaces, cover stocks, paper colors, and binding techniques. In complete indifference to the fads and fancies of the commercial publishing world, Creeley and Williams were able to get their words out as well as the words of many others and completely control the way those words looked on the page.

In a 1953 letter to Williams, Creeley talks about Laubiès as both an artist and a reader: "..he is one of four or five people who know what the poems 'mean' to begin with and he is a fucking wild painter."4 In fact, Laubiès had been the first to translate selections from Ezra Pound's Cantos into French, and Pound had introduced the artist to Creeley (via letter) before Creeley moved to France with his family. As a painter, Laubiès was involved with the Galerie Fachetti in Paris, which also showed the work of Jackson Pollock, Sam Francis, and Lawrence Calcagno. The book Creeley and Laubiès produced, The Immoral Proposition, is a powerful and beautifully balanced pairing. Tied together so that the poems and drawings could lie next to each other absolutely flat, each poem is matched by a starkly calligraphic abstract image.

Creeley felt that The Immoral Proposition, though satisfying, didn't yet approach his ideal of a running, parallel continuity of text and imagery. In 1954, he began work on a book project with Dan Rice, a painter deeply enmeshed in the Abstract Expressionist movement. Creeley had met Rice at Black Mountain and was also by this time editing the Black Mountain Review. In his letters to Williams, Creeley explained he wanted to "kill the 'Pomes and Drawings' tone," creating "something MOVING from beginning to goddamn END." 5 The resulting project, All That is Lovely in Men, was eventually printed in North Carolina. As Creeley had intended, Rice's drawings-- abstract fields of markings--run along the right side of the page, not directly addressing any of the book's thirty poems. When Creeley moved back to the United States for good around 1956, he continued to see Rice as well as another writer/artist Fielding Dawson and their mentor, Franz Kline. The Dawson association led to another project. If You (1956)--an elegant portfolio combining Dawson's simple linoleum cuts with Creeley's words--was published by Porpoise Bookshop in San Francisco, where Creeley visited after leaving Majorca. Dawson also indirectly connected Creeley with John Altoon and Arthur Okamura, two California-based painters the poet was to work with later.

By the time of Creeley's relocation to the Southwest in 1957, where he married his second wife, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, and finished graduate school, he had established a modest international network of connections with like-minded writers and artists, leading, by the end of the 60's, to a fair amount of success. He continued to publish with Jargon Press, also establishing his first connection with a commercial publisher, Scribner's. Through his readings at poetry festivals and residencies at university English departments, his work came to the attention of many other artists, including Jim Dine, R.B. Kitaj, William Katz, and Robert Indiana. Probably two of the most significant and labor-intensive collaborations Creeley was involved with happened in the late 60's, with Indiana and Kitaj. In addition, he published a series of books involving early xerographic illustration with Hawkins.

Designer William Katz and painter Robert Indiana were a 60's team, closely associated with the Pop movement and artists. In 1967, Katz asked Creeley to contribute to Stamped Indelibly, a collection of rubberstamped poems and artworks by Tom Wesselman, Marisol, Allen Ginsberg, Claes Oldenburg, and others. The playful book distills the Pop sensibility, using simple rubber stamps and primary color inks for a Wesselman mouth, an Indiana flower, and humorous stanzas by Creeley and Ginsburg. In a series of letters to Creeley (often decorated with Pop iconography), Katz told of designing programs for Virgil Thompson, helping Oldenburg move a 3/4 scale biplane into his studio, and forever inventing new and more ingenious ways to create books.6 Creeley now lived within easy reach in Buffalo, N.Y., and completed a series of works with Katz and Indiana (or sometimes with Katz alone). By far the most significant was Numbers (Creeley/Indiana 1968). This is a bound book and an unbound print portfolio beautifully printed by Domberger Press and masterminded by William Katz. Both contain 10 silkscreened numbers designed by Indiana (0-9) and a poem by Creeley for each, in English, then German. The numbers are typical Indiana: bold, colorful emblems; the poems typical Creeley: exhaustive explorations of the possibilities each number affords. Printed in Germany, Numbers is a dramatic contrast of eye-popping screenprints on smooth, white sheets and text on heavily textured brown paper. "He [Katz] had an opportunity to work with Domberger," Creeley recalls, "and thought it would be interesting to have intervals rather than just sheets of images, something that would act as pace. I loved the sense of hierarchic image, you know, the generalized and primary Number 1."7

By this time, Creeley had moved away from matching poetic gestures to painterly ones, but his work with Indiana continued his involvement with how to define the present, using numbers as the elemental buildings blocks of here and now. During the 60's and 70's, numbers were also growing more and more essential to the way Creeley structured his writing. In later collaborations with Kitaj, Marisol, and Dine, Creeley used simple number progressions to determine the sections and lengths of prose narratives--in A Day Book (1972), Presences (1976), and Mabel: A Story (1977), respectively.

A Day Book was printed in Germany by Graphis. The large book (30" x 22") contains etchings, screenprints, and lithographs by Kitaj and 30 pages of text by Creeley. Like Numbers, it was available in both bound and unbound versions. In the text, Creeley imposes a physical limitation, that of 30 days. For his part, Kitaj chose individual lines from several of the pages, using them as an intrinsic part of his imagery. Although the book's representational format suggests an even more dramatic move towards traditional means of expression, Creeley's observations never suggest the symbolic or the metaphoric, just glimpses of experience. Kitaj's images take those glimpses and turn them into word/ image portraits, where the letters are an intrinsic part of the composition. The artist's knowledge of printmaking and his intense dedication to the project are visible throughout text and images. Each text page is printed on a different color with a different typeface, a strategy suited to the arbitrary temporal structure. Jonathan Williams introduced Kitaj to Creeley during a 60's reading in London. Like Jim Dine, Kitaj considered Creeley's poetry a turning point in his understanding of letters. As with most of the artists Creeley knew, the working relationship accompanied a warm friendship, taking place amid many dinners and weekend visits.

In contrast to the elaborate nature of the Indiana and Kitaj collaborations, Creeley's book projects with Bobbie Louise Hawkins are less dramatic--imagery acts as understated counterpart rather than raison d'être. The books, including Pieces (1969), St. Martin's (1971), Listen (1972), and others, are produced by Black Sparrow Press, contain a wide range of Creeley's experiments in both verse and prose, and document Hawkin's artistic experiments in Xerography. At one point, Hawkins actually rented a Xerox machine, had it dragged up to her workshed in Bolinas, California, and spent a few days with it, bringing in hundreds of collage elements to see how they would show up in toner reproductions. The results are really monoprints since the collages were not fixed and can't be replicated. For the limited editions, each book had a different hand-colored Xerox sewn in front after the title page. Occasionally, Hawkins would address Creeley's words; just as often she would not, choosing to pursue other formal avenues. Listen is a particularly interesting example of Hawkins' work with Creeley; the endless cycle of unanswerable reproaches made by the couple in the dialogue is echoed by Hawkin's endless repetitions of two people, faded and distorted. As in many of the collaborations, the images seem to build in intensity with the words, although not really illustrating the words. Another collaboration of this time, 1º2º3º4º5º6º7º8º9º (1971), with painter Arthur Okamura, also employed a build-up of imagery. Okamura drew hundreds of tiny female nudes, fitting them together in intricate combinations suggesting mutating organic life. Just as the Creeley stanzas seem to progress in bursts, so do the drawings.

Creeley also worked with Okamura's friend and fellow Californian John Altoon. Altoon had lived in Majorca briefly while Creeley was there, and in 1966 asked him to contribute to a portfolio of lithographs About Women. As Creeley remembered in his tribute to Altoon (who died suddenly in 1969),8 the subject of women and relationships was one continually addressed in the works of both painter and poet. For the portfolio, the first produced by Gemini, Ltd., Creeley provided several poems, including "The Woman," while Altoon produced a series of biomorphic abstracts, reminiscent of both Gorky and de Kooning, but with a humorous twist.

During the '70s, Creeley continued to make books with Hawkins and also embarked on major projects with Marisol and Jim Dine. Marisol, a friend of Katz and Indiana, was prompted to work with Creeley by the Numbers project, but their collaboration followed a rockier road, starting with Abrams' initial rejection of Creeley's Presences text. As Creeley remembers, "It began as a book for Abrams. There was a great moment when I was given a thousand dollars as an advance, and I sent the text and nothing happened. Then I got a letter saying they really couldn't do it. Their editor had advised them that it was just random stuff taken from the writer's wastebasket."9 Eventually Presences was published in a trade edition by Scribner's, which, though out-of-print, can still be found in second-hand bookstores. The book features a numerically sectioned text and facing page photo-graphs of Marisol sculptures, carefully chosen by the artist. Much to the horror of Scribner's pressmen, the text bleeds almost to the edge of the page. Both Marisol and Creeley had difficulty making sure their intentions for the project were realized, but the book remains one of the most literally accessible of the collaborations.

Mabel (1977), the project with Jim Dine, followed a similar numbered structure. In writing this text, Creeley's embarked on another exploration of the "women" theme. As a preparation, he worked with his classes at the University at Buffalo, asking women in the class to write their definitions of what "woman" meant, although little if any of this made it into the final version. The final text, based on the same 1-2-3 page variations as Presences, can be found grouped with Day Book and Presences in a few Creeley prose collections. A series of prose narratives, each either 1, 2, or 3 pages long, are divided into five sections. Dine was given the Mabel text to work from, but, as he said recently, "I didn't know what to do when he sent me Mabel. I didn't have any idea but I thought it was as good a chance as any to do what I wanted to do in etching. And Creeley embraced it--this is a big point about Bob--because he embraces everything. If it's you, he embraces it."9 Dine attempted to make "objects out of Creeley's words," etched faces which Dine considered the first steps for his later series of etched portraits of his wife published as Nancy Outside in July. The friendship between Dine and Creeley had begun in 1966, when Creeley met Dine on the occasion of his exhibition at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. "I started to write poetry in college," Dine says. " There was a reading that Ted Berrigan and I gave [in London] at something called the Artslab. I remember afterwards Bob was really complimentary about a long poem I'd read that I'd written in Ithaca. He's just been always great through the years. I always knew Creeley was there for me in some way."10

Thanks to Dine's relationship with the French printing atelier Editions Crommelynck, who printed the edition, Mabel is a classic example of the "livre d'artiste." Elegantly boxed, the separate sections of etchings and text are printed on heavy, cream-colored paper.

Other 70's projects, though equally compelling, were more modestly produced. While living in Bolinas, California, Creeley became good friends with artist/ writer Joe Brainard. Together they produced Class of '47 (1973), a comic book combining Brainard's drawings (á la Loony Toons) with voice balloons Creeley excerpted directly from the alumni reports he received from Harvard University. "It was an ironic and bitter reaction to my class," Creeley says of the project. "You would look at all the members of your class and they were all working for Lehman Brothers or the President of the United States or something. So you get these statements of what each one variously believes his or her life has posited. I simply went through them cutting out and editing. It's all taken verbatim."11 Even more unusual was the project Creeley did with Elsa Dorfman, His Idea. It consists of Dorfman's seven photographs of a couple making love and Creeley's accompanying poems. Dorfman, who had been hired for this shoot through a classified advertisement, was very affected by the experience. In a brief text describing it for the first exhibition of the photographs, she wrote, "When it was over, I was VERY DEPRESSED. I was lonely. I wasn't used to all that nakedness. Or someone else's intimacy. I wanted to get home...I had no idea what I had shot. Months later, I felt very uninvolved with the pictures and wished I had photographed their faces. Wished I had been less afraid."12 Dorfman's association with Creeley goes back to the days when she worked for Grove Press in New York and met many of the Beat and post-Beat generation. Later she moved to Boston and became more engrossed in photography, maintaining her friendships with such writers as Alan Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, as well as Creeley.

During the 80s and 90s, the impetus for Creeley's collaborative projects came more and more from publishers and facilitators who "matched" the now internationally famous poet with appropriate artists, although the less formal connections of friendship still played a role. In 1988, Creeley was asked by Albuquerque art dealer Lise Hoshour if he would like to work with Robert Therrien. Creeley visited Therrien's studio, and was much taken by both the work and the artist. Sensitively and skillfully facilitated by Hoshour, their collaboration also included texts by French writer Michel Butor. Published in a box, there are first seven Creeley poems and Therrien images, then 24 separate Therrien reproductions, then six Butor texts and Therrien images, all on folded sheets of white paper. Hoshour relayed messages between the three collaborators, surrounding the process with good will and collegiality, as demonstrated in this letter:"You must know that Robert Therrien has become extremely involved with your texts. If you could only see and hear the extraordinary response you and Michel are getting from Therrien, you would be as gratified and delighted as I am."13

From Jonathan Williams in the '50s to William Katz in the '60s to Lise Hoshour in the '80s, Creeley has always had friends and professional associates who take on the nuts and bolts organization of the collaborative process. It's a process potentially rife with minor snags and miscommunications, given the distances, technical complications, and disparate personalities involved, but also one surrounded by an aura of good-natured remembrances. Susan Rothenberg was invited to work with Creeley by Hank Hine, director of the University of South Florida's Graphicarts Studio, an atelier that has been overseeing fine art printing projects with well-known artists since 1968. "It was great," Rothenberg recalls. "I accepted every word he wrote and he accepted every print I made. It took a nice long time. There were vacations or he would be out of the country. We were never rushing toward a deadline."14 This project, finally entitled Parts, happened mainly when Creeley was living in Maine and Buffalo and Rothenberg was in New Mexico. At first, Rothenberg had intended to make drawings based on Creeley's writing, but the rooftop series he was working on at the time did not strike a chord. Instead, she sent Creeley drawings of the human and animal imagery she was engaged with, and Creeley wrote to the drawings. "It ended up being a very special book," she says. "Bob and I would have been just as happy seeing it become a regular book, but Hank wanted to do kind of a dream book. So we went upscale to make it a real beauty."15 In Parts, Rothenberg's mezzotints appear alternately on the recto pages with Creeley's poetry, with a Rothenberg image on the vellum cover. In 1997, Hank Hine initiated another Creeley project, connecting him with German painter Georg Baselitz. Signs, their book of poetry and etchings, is being completed as this catalog goes to press.

Painter Francesco Clemente is another believer in the natural affinity between poetry and art. He was already deeply involved with poets and writers before he started working with Creeley. In the mid-80's, Clemente and editor Raymond Foye co-founded Hanuman Books, a series of tiny books of poetry and prose that often feature writing by artists or by writers outside of the mainstream. Printed in Madras, India, the series includes titles by Allen Ginsberg, Willem de Kooning, David Hockney, John Weiners, Eileen Myles, Patti Smith, and Creeley (his Autobiography), among many others. In 1989, Raymond Foye suggested Creeley write about Clemente's It paintings; at the time, Clemente was preparing for an exhibition of the works in Paris and Creeley was teaching in Helsinki on a Distinguished Fulbright award. After It--a large book matching color reproductions of Clemente's pastels with Creeley's poetry--the two produced publications for three other Clemente exhibitions. For Clemente, certain paintings seem to summon Creeley's reaction: "Sometimes, when my work has a unique form, it calls for his ability to read it," the artist says. "In the case of It [1989], it was simply the desire to be close to a poet I admired. In the case of Anamorphosis [1997], the simplicity of the forms made me think of that side of his activities. In the case of a group of paintings like There [1993], it's the opposite, the ambiguity of form, that made me think of him. In the case of Life and Death [1993], it was maybe the severity of the shapes and the black and the metallic paint. The religiosity of it."16 The Creeley/ Clemente books have also been the catalogs for the exhibitions they accompany; they range from lavish editions to more modest publications.

There are also compelling examples of interactions with contemporary sculptors. For the 1989 Los Angeles "Poet's Walk" project, Texas-based sculptor James Surls was given a list of poets he could work with on a public art project. To his delight, Creeley, whose writing he had long admired, was on the list. Surls invited Creeley to his home in the woods of East Texas; during a short stay, Creeley wrote a series of 24 poems. Surls, for his part, worked with series coordinator Kathy Lucoff in Los Angeles, finally choosing eight round granite bollards in front of the Citicorp building on which to inscribe the Creeley poems he had chosen and the drawings he had made to go with them. Surls' drawings are clean and simple, achieving the same clear distillations present in the brief verses. He explains: "For example, [Creeley's poem] 'A world's still got four corners.' How do you you make integrity of image, of words, and symbolism? How do you make these things correspond? They have to. The world only has four corners in our head, it's a way of stating a place, your own own particular corner. I thought a bed was as personal as you could get. Everyone sleeps in a bed of some sort."17

Two other sculptors, John Chamberlain and Cletus Johnson, knew Creeley many years before they worked with him. Creeley met Chamberlain in the 50's at Black Mountain, and maintained contact, writing about Chamberlain's work on several occasions. In March, 1988, Chamberlain sent Creeley ten lithographs, hoping that they would, as he wrote, "influence you enough to find words you haven't used for a while."18 The poems were printed in the same large format as the lithographs. Cletus Johnson met Creeley in the 60's in New York. When Johnson moved to Western New York in the 80s, he spoke to Creeley about finally doing a project together. For years, Johnson had been making Theaters, architectonic facades combining imagery and text. He and Creeley devised a working method where Johnson sent Creeley sketches with images and ideas and Creeley sent back poems. In some ways, their group of four Theaters (completed in 1991) is perhaps the only "true" collaboration in that one sculptural form took shape through the interaction of both writer and artist. As Johnson remembers, "He sent poems to me. I can remember discussing the possibilities of what interaction between the visual and the written could be. Faxes started arriving and notes and letters and short poems. I was interested in the architectural aspect of the printed page."19

The problem of how to define collaboration has never interfered with Creeley's engagement with visual art. The process of his involvement, no matter how it takes place, enables Creeley "to enlarge, alter, and examine the ground from which his own poetics and poetry arises," as John Yau states later in this book. Thus, to some extent, the means justify the end. But the issue of how to present the collaborations in ways that one form does not greatly overshadow the other is always an important one to both writer and artist. In planning his 1998 project with Creeley, painter Archie Rand felt that, unless he took precautions, the art would have what he calls the home court advantage. "The poetry does get eaten up by the pictures," Rand says. "What I decided to do was to have two people make something that's bigger than either of them. The model I had in mind was the French lithographer Paul Colin who did these amazing posters in the '20s and '30s. There are just a couple of words and an image and they act together as no single word or image could. I wanted Bob to have enough territory to throw the best shot he could and the picture would absorb it."20 Entitled Drawn & Quartered, the project consists of 54 prints with a Rand image and Creeley quatrain on each. Creeley composed the handwritten quatrains over the image plates during an all-day session at the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University.

Creeley, his collaborating artists, and the facilitators of their projects continue to find innovative methods of combining words and imagery. In two recent publications from Marco Fine Arts--American Dream, with Robert Indiana (1998) and Visual Poetics, with Donald Sultan (1999)--the Creeley poems are printed on transparent vellum, so that the words float over the images as you turn the page. An equally handsome portfolio from Peter Blum Editions, Edges (1998), combines stanzas from Creeley and etchings from painter Alex Katz, both inspired by the Maine landscape of their neighboring summer homes. Like many of the projects, Edges has been issued in both bound and unbound versions, offering both the intimate experience of the turned page and the more publically accessible experience of the framed print.

Upscale editions such as the recent Marco Fine Arts and Graphicstudio publications are exquisite image/text combinations, but their audience is limited. Addressing his overriding concern ­ that the poetry and the art be seen by the largest possible audience ­ Creeley continues to produce smaller, more accessible (and affordable) editions with various artists and publishers, such as The Dogs of Auckland (1998), with illustrations by Max Gimblett and Personal (1998), with linocuts by John Millei. These volumes are more like books that you might actually keep on a shelf and read­although they are also beautifully produced. Each collaborative book, portfolio, and sculpture has its own fascination. Taken as a group, they are overwhelming.

Typically, Creeley himself has the best articulation of his impulse to collaborate when he says, "Poets...need an active and defining presence, need physical sound and sight."21 And it's not so much a challenge as an expression of his generous spirit when he further comments, "Now it is your turn to continue."22

1. Robert Creeley, interview with E. Licata, November 21, 1998.
2. Robert Creeley, "On the Road: Notes on Artists and Poets," in Was That a Real Poem and other Essays (Bolinas: Four Seasons, 1979 ).
3. Jonathan Williams, interview with E. Licata, June 25, 1998.
4. Robert Creeley, letter to Jonathan Williams dated July 24, 1953.
5. Robert Creeley, letter to Jonathan Williams dated October 6, 1954.
6. William Katz, letter to Robert Creeley dated June 16, 1967.
7. Robert Creeley, interview with E. Licata, November 21, 1998.
8. Robert Creeley, "Memories of John" in John Altoon (San Diego: San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, 1998).
9. Robert Creeley, interview with E. Licata, November 21, 1998.
10. Jim Dine, interview with E. Licata, June 18, 1998.
11. Robert Creeley, interview with E. Licata, November 21, 1998.
12. Elsa Dorfman, His Idea statement dated September 4, 1972.
13. Lise Hoshour, letter to Robert Creeley dated February 18, 1987.
14. Susan Rothenberg, telephone interview with E. Licata, July 20, 1998.
15. Ibid.
16. Francesco Clemente, interview with E. Licata, November 17, 1998.
17. James Surls, telephone interview with E. Licata, January 25, 1999.
18. John Chamberlain, fax to Robert Creeley dated March 8, 1988.
19. Cletus Johnson, interview with E. Licata, August 17, 1998.
20. Archie Rand, interview with E. Licata, September 16, 1998.
21. Robert Creeley, from introduction to Poetry in Motion II CD-ROM, 1994.
22. Robert Creeley, from explanatory note for Life and Death faxed from Creeley to Leslie Miller, November 16, 1993.

Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University, Weatherspoon Art Gallery, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1999

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