“Measure, then, is my testament”

I want to give witness not to the thought of myself—that specious concept of identity—but, rather, to what I am as simple agency, a thing evidently alive by virtue of such activity. I want, as Charles Olson says, to come into the world. Measure, then, is my testament. What uses me is what I use and in that complex measure is the issue. I cannot cut down trees with my bare hand, which is measure of both tree and hand. In that way I feel that poetry, in the very subtlety of its relation to image and rhythm, offers an intensely various record of such facts. It is equally one of them. (Robert Creeley, from his essay “A Sense of Measure”)

Robert Creeley, whose collection of early poetry is among my favorite books of poetry, a poet of immense power and subtlety, has written a lot of essays, published in 1989 as Collected Essays by the University of California Press. Now they are online. Click here. You know you want this. You know you need to read this. Get to it already. Chop chop.

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