Robert Kern: On "For Love"

Despite the fact, however, that Creeley, . . . speaks everywhere in his statements on poetics of the poem as a self-determining activity, of the poem that realizes itself in the poet's literal act of writing, it should also be clear that this is an ideal characterization of the text and of the creative process, and as such not often or at least not immediately accurate to what Creeley achieves in his actual poetic practice . . . .

One could go so far as to say that in his early work, Creeley might very well have been satisfied, emotionally if not theoretically, by the idea of the poem as a stay against confusion. As Charles Altieri implies in a detailed and comprehensive account of Creeley's poetic development, the quest that he undertakes and more or less accomplishes in For Love involves the pursuit of "a permanent peace outside the flux of time," a peace with love and the domestic conditions in which it both becomes possible and flourishes. The beautiful lyrics at the end of the book are grateful celebrations of "the company of love" (FL, 160) and of the sense of being "brought now home" (FL, 155) that it introduces into the poet's life. At long last, he feels himself to be beyond alienation and solipsism . . . .

Yet, as Altieri also points out, the resolution achieved in For Love is finally inadequate, and Creeley himself was soon to realize that "real peace must be found within, not beyond, the flux," a realization important not only for Creeley's development in terms of epistemological and emotional difficulties, but crucial also to his specific growth as a writer anxious to follow the imperatives of composition as recognition.


Title Robert Kern: On "For Love" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Robert Kern Criticism Target Robert Creeley
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 06 Jul 2021
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication Composition as Recognition: Robert Creely and Postmodern Poetics
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