people watching us,
He writes "Call and Answer"
of Iraq, and death.
meeting in the trees.
Since Robert Bly’s first book, Silence in the Snowy Fields, appeared in 1962, he has published twelve more books of poetry including The Light around the Body, which won the National Book Award in 1968, and recently, Morning Poems (1998) and his selected poemsEating the Honey of Words (1999). His translations have brought Neruda, Vallejo, Tranströmer and Ghalib, among others, to the attention of American readers. Through his literary magazine and his small press, in operation since the fifties, Bly has challenged the larger publishing houses to promote writers and issues outside the mainstream. Through his protest against the Vietnam War, as well as the Gulf War, through his prose books Iron John(1990), The Sibling Society (1996), and The Maiden Kind (1999), written with Marian Woodman, he has become a significant voice addressing social and political problems of our times. (Excerpted from Paris Review feature.) He recently read from his latest collection Talking Into the Ear of a Donkey in Minneapolis; at 85 he is the Poet Laureate of Minnesota.
In 1974 he founded The Minnesota Writers Publishing House and invited several Minnesota poets to join the collective. We bought an offset press, and began the enthralling and often exhausting activity of getting our book s into the world. My book, In Pursuit of the Family, was the fourth collection in the series of the first twenty poets.
Looking back to that year I remember only patience and love. One day when he was in Colorado Robert drove out to visit my parents, who were quite ill. He was forgiving of my attacks of anxiety and egotism around the chapbook I then thought of as some kind of masterpiece, and he wrote a loving commentary for the back of the book. I hope to scan the cover image and post it on this blog soon.
Robert Bly has supported me in my recovery and artistic growth throughout the years. Maureen Doallas, author of Neruda's Memoirs, T.S. Poetry Press, and blogger at Writing Without Paper, did a beautiful, exhaustive, illustrated feature of Bly earlier this year.