Robert Creeley in Buffalo Conversation 1980 – 1

Robert Creeley ( 1926-2005)

This week we begin a brand new transcription. It’s from 1980 and a fugitive publication, the Niagra-Erie Writers NewsletterAllen DeLoach with Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky and Robert Creeley 

(initially transcribed by Ze’ve Keisch)

tape begins in media res

Peter Orlovsky:  ….The bottom of Love Canal

Allen DeLoach: You’re talking at the bottom of Love Canal?

Allen Ginsberg: We’re green algae at the bottom of Love Canal?

PO: The gas is coming up out of the marsh there.

ADL: Are you ready?

Robert Creeley: Yeah, Right! (laughter)

ADL: This is a serious question now. This is for the literary public. I’d like for you all to comment, if you would please, on ways in which your attitudes in writing are similar and compatible and which ways you see yourself as being compatible and different.

AG: Well that guy there (Ginsberg pointing to Creeley), he uses a typewriter.

RC: And he (Creeley pointing to Ginsberg) taught me not to.

AG: And I myself use a pen, and Peter (Orlovsky) over there, he….

PO: I use water, pure water, cold water. I don’t bother with these fancy pens and typewriters. Only when I has to! (especially, early in the mornin’, the middle of the night, and, uh, on the train.

RC:  I don’t know.. we were just talking, when you came in, about politics, the left and the right, and knowing these two extraordinary people (Allen and Peter) for lo, these twenty or more years, it… I always felt that the primary concern was what were the possibilities in being human and how did you, how did you find your heart’s desire without, you know, x-ing fifteen million people in the process. I mean, how much did you need?  I thought that their concerns were always compatible with mine – e,g – their ways of dealing with the world around them was always particular to my desire. And I learned a lot from them, y’know.  I always, y’know,  (to Allen and Peter) I always always feel a part of your company.

AG: So I was just asking Robert what he thought about El Salvador and Nicaragua [c.1980]– ‘cause you have friends from Nicaragua

RC: Yeah, Eddie Perry [sic], for example

AG: So he was  telling us, telling facts  that I didn’t know about what was going on with their economy. The United States has withdrawn…

RC: Remember they had never…The Senate never had ratified the bill that was effectually to give Nicaragua, a, I think, seventy million dollar funding for the reconstitution of its government.. 

AG: Yeah, so the guess was that because the economies of developing nations had to be tied to either the West or to the East…

RC: Yeah, the two nations.

AG: ..That when the two were so polarized and forcing the little countries to choose that it was just making the impossible choice where there was no…

RC: No…

AG: …when everybody was connected

RC: Where they could realize their own desires?

ADL: So the fact of early differences, seemingly differences, or “differences” that were pointed out by some people, that the Beats had one kind of style…

RC: we’ve..

AD::…and the Black Mountain had another…

RC: We’ve literally known each other since, happily, all of us, since ‘ (19)54.

AG: The words didn’t rise in our minds in the last half-hour

RC: We didn’t, no, we didn’t have.. [to Allen and Peter] I was fascinated by what You guys had to say

PO:  (to Robert Creeley). You got friends in Nicaragua?

RC: This friend Harry who I think you met at .. Harry Van..Harry Madison’s.(sic)

AG: But he wanted to talk to us about literature

ADL: No, I don’t necessarily. This is fine because it’s all the same thing, You see, my next actual comment is  that it’s all the same thing, isn’t it?.. I mean…

RC: Yeah, sure.

ADL: You agree about how to  live in the world.

PO: So far.

RC: Yeah.  The style never… I love, yeah, I love the style of that, say Allen’s work. I love his particularizing line, I love Peter’s incredible directness (not only sexually, but the whole issue of feeling, absolutely there.

to be continued

One comment

  1. I miss Robert’s generosity and cleverness which I was blessed enough to encounter when I got to know him at Beloit College in 1969 on a visit he paid to Marion Stocking (founder of the Beloit Poetry Journal)! It was probably the high point of my college years (unfortunately I missed Charles Olson who came to Beloit and read the year before )!

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