Robert Bly

Robert Bly
* Poems. * Prose. * Time Line. * Books.




Eating the Honey of Words: New and Selected Poems (1999)

A collection of 11 sections:

  1. Early Poems (1950-55)
  2. Silence in the Snowy Fields (1958-78)
  3. The Light Around the Body (1957-70)
  4. The Teeth Mother Naked at Last (1970-72)
  5. The Point Reyes Poems (1965-84)
  6. Loving a Woman in Two Worlds (1973-81)
  7. This Body is Made of Camphor and Gopherwood (1973-80)
  8. The Man in the Black Coat Turns (1980-84)
  9. Meditations on the Insatiable Soul (1990-94)
  10. Morning Poems (1993-97)
  11. New Poems (1997-98)

Leaping Poetry: An Idea with Poems and Translations (1972)

A small anthology of translated poetry interleaved by the author's essays.

The leaping poem ... gives off a constantly flashing light as it shifts from light psyche to dark psyche, resembling the flashing lights of flying saucers. ... I am not saying that it is the only good kind of poetry. Far from it. I like the poetry of steady light very much. Shakespeare's poets are often poetry of steady light, as are some Wordsworth poems, and the poems of Robert Francis.

Translated poets:

Poems by Bly and a dozen "Home Grown" poets conclude the book.

My Sentence was a Thousand Years of Joy (2005)

Buy 'My Sentence was a Thousand Years of Joy'

This Tree Will be Here for a Thousand Years (1979)

A very physical sixth collection. The poet walks at dawn. He fishes in the night. He bends to touch things and pick them up.

Favorite poems include:

Winged Energy of Delight: Selected Translations (2004)

A collection of 22 poets, which Bly sequences in the order that he came to love their work:

  1. Thomas Tranströmer (1931-?) b. Stockholm, Sweden.
  2. Mirabi (the only woman in the collection) (1498-1546) Rajasthan, India.
  3. Kabir (1398?-1527?) b. India
  4. Antonio Machado (1875-1939) b. Seville, Spain.
  5. Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881-1958) b. Andalusia.
  6. Francis Ponge (1899-1988) b. Montpellier, France.
  7. Pablo Neruda (1904-?) b. Chile.
  8. Georg Trakl (1887-1914) b. Salzburg.
  9. Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) b. Prague.
  10. Basho (1644-94) b. Ueno, Japan.
  11. Rolf Jacobsen (1907-94) b. Oslo, Norway.
  12. Gunnar Elkelöf (1907-68) b. Stockholm, Sweden.
  13. Issa (1763-1827) b. Japan.
  14. Frederico García Lorca (1898-1936) b. Andalusia.
  15. Olav H. Hauge (1908-?) b. Ulvik, Norway.
  16. Harry Martinson (1904-78) b. Sweden.
  17. César Vallejo (1892-1938) b. Santiago de Chuco, Peru.
  18. Miguel Hernandez (1910-42) b. Alicante Province, Spain.
  19. Rumi (1204-72) b. Balkh (now in Afghanistan).
  20. Horace (65-8 BCE) b. Apulia, Italy.
  21. Galib (1797-1869) b. Agra, India.
  22. Hafez (1320-89) b. Shiraz, s.w. of Tehran.


A Little Book on the Human Shadow (1988)

Five essays explore Bly's interpretation of the Jungian shadow and its value in our lives:

  1. Problems in the Ark
  2. The Long Bag We Drag Behind Us
  3. Five Stages in Exiling, Hunting, and Retrieving the Shadow.
  4. Honoring the Shadow: An Interview with William Booth.
  5. Wallace Stevens and Dr. Jekyll.

Iron John (1990)

Buy 'Iron John'

Bly's version of an old "Wild Man" folktale about a boy and his guide through initiation toward manhood.

American Poetry: Wildness and Domesticity (1990)

Essays and interviews and strong opinions about other poets fill American Poetry: Wildness and Domesticity.

Time Line.

Born December 23 in Madison, Minnesota to parents of Norwegian heritage.

Enlisted in Navy for two years.

At St. Olaf College in Minnesota.

Transferred to Harvard University. His fellow undergraduate writers included John Ashbery, Donald Hall, Kenneth Koch, George Plimpton, and Adrienne Rich.

Graduated from Harvard.

Began two years at the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop. His fellow student writers included Donald Justice and W.D. Snodgrass.

Fulbright Grant to travel to Norway in order to translate Norwegian poetry into English.

Started The Fifties, a literary magazine, followed by The Sixties, and The Seventies.

Co-founded American Writers Against the Vietnam War. Began to lead much of the opposition among writers to the Vietnam War.

Poems: The Light Around the Body; won National Book Award
Edited anthology A Poetry Reading Against the Vietnam War.

Translation (with James Wright and John Knoepfle): Neruda and Vallejo: Selected Poems.

Translation: Friends, You Drank Some Darkness: Three Swedish Poets [Martinson, Ekeloef, and Tranströmer].
Edited Leaping Poetry:. a small anthology of translated poetry interleaved by the author's essays.
Poems in a chapbook, Old Man Rubbing His Eyes; later printed in 1979 as the first section of This Tree Will be Here for a Thousand Years.

Poems: This Body is Made of Camphor and Gopherwood.
Translation: The Kabir Book: 44 of the Ecstatic Poems of Kabir.

Poems: This Tree Will be Here for a Thousand Years. Includes many poems for Bly's 1975 chapbook, Old Man Rubbing His Eyes. [Republished with extensive revisions in 1992, indicating that the Tree changes with time.]

Edited News of the Universe, an anthology of poetry from around the world and through the ages.
Non-fiction: Talking All Morning: Collected Conversations and Interviews.

Translation: Machado's Times Alone: Selected Poems.

Translation: Mirabai: Six Versions.

Poems: Loving a Woman in Two Worlds.
Translation: Trusting Your Life to Water and Eternity: Twenty Poems of Olav H. Hauge.

Prose: A Little Book on the Human Shadow.

Non-fiction: Iron John: A Book about Men.
Essays: American Poetry: Wildness and Domesticity.

Poems: What Have I Ever Lost by Dying? (Collected Prose Poems).
Edited: The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: Poems for Men, an anthology of poetry.

Non-fiction: The Spirit Boy and the Insatiable Soul.

Edited: The Soul Is Here for Its Own Joy: Sacred Poems from Many Cultures, an anthology of poetry

Non-fiction: The Sibling Society.

Poems: Snowbanks North of the House.
Eating the Honey of Words: New and Selected.
Edited: Best American Poetry 1999.

Poems: The Night Abraham Called to the Stars.

Translations: Winged Energy of Delight: Selected Translations.

Poems: My Sentence Was a Thousand Years of Joy.


Links and Books.

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