What could be cooler than being on the cover of Boundary 2? LIFE? Maybe... probably not. The whopping 570-page Spring/Fall issue of 1978 was edited by William Spanos out of the English Department of SUNY Binghamton. Those were the days.
Postmodern to the bone, this issue is set entirely in a medley of sans serif typefaces, which grow tiresome after a while, but at least the whole issue isn’t set with ragged left and ragged right margins pockmarked with random spacing, as is the opening interview with Creeley conducted by Spanos! Although cordial, the conversation seems to be a struggle between poet and critic who keep circling, never quite landing on common ground. The questions and terms Spanos uses to describe Creeley’s work are very much those of a critic looking at poetry from the outside-in, while Creeley, characteristically inspired, delimits Spanos’ rhetoric. His responses speak very much from the inside-out, often steering the conversation elsewhere.
Other poets and critics featured in this issue include: a selection of Creeley’s own poems; George Butterick’s “Creeley and Olson: The Beginning”; Michael Rumaker, “Robert Creeley at Black Mountain”; Paul Mariani’s “’Fire of a Very Real Order’: Creeley and Williams’”; William Sylvester’s “Robert Creeley’s Poetics: I Know that I hear you”; Robert Kern’s “Composition as Recognition: Robert Creeley and Postmodern Poetics”; Robert Duncan’s “After For Love”; Kenneth Cox’s “Address and Posture in the Early Poetry of Robert Creeley”; Samuel Moon’s “The Springs of Action: A Psychological Portrait of Robert Creeley (Part 1: The Whip)”; Cynthia Dubin Edelberg’s “Robert Creeley’s Words: The Comedy of the Intellect”; Robert Duncan’s “A Reading of Thirty Things”; Linda W. Wagner’s “Creeley’s Late Poems: Contexts”; John Vernon’s “The Cry of Its Occasion: Rober Creeley”; Peter Quartermain’s “Robert Creeley: What Counts”; Paul Diehl’s “The Literal Activity fo Robert Creeley”; William Navero’s “Robert Creeley: Close. In the Mind. Some Times. Some What.”; Albert Cook’s “Reflections on Robert Creeley”; Robert von Hallberg’s “Robert Creeley and the Pleasures of the System”; Sherman Paul’s “Rereading Creeley”; Robert Grenier’s “A Packet for Robert Creeley”; Allen Ginsberg’s “On Robert Creeley’s Ear Mind (and a Poem)”; Edward Dorn’s “Of Robert Creeley”; Three poem by Denise Levertov; Tom Clark’s “’Desperate Perhaps, and Even Foolish,/ But God Knows Useful’ – Creeley and the Experience of Space’”; Duncan McNaughton’s “Bullshitting About Creeley”; Samuel Moon’s “A Lake of Clear Water”; Warren Tallman’s “Haw: A Dream for Robert Creeley”; Nathaniel Mackey’s “The Gold Diggers: Projective Prose”; Marjorie Perloff’s “Four Times Five: Robert Creeley’s The Island”; Charlie Altieri’s “Placing Robert Creeley’s Recent Work: A Poetics of Conjecture”; Michael Davidson’s “The Presence of the Present: Morality and the Problem of Value in Robert Creeley’s Recent Prose.”
This issue also contains contributions from artists John Altoon, John Chamberlain, Jim Dine, Elsa Dorfman, Philip Guston, Robert Indiana, RB Kitaj, Franz Kline, Marisol, Dan Rice and Frank Stella. Seriously.