Did you know that Robert Creeley's poem "I Know a Man" opens Jack Nicholson's debut as director, Drive He Said (1971)? 

The file was too large to embed here, but you can watch the whole film on the YouTube at:

On a recent visit to New Mexico, I found this copy of The Whip (Migrant Books, 1957) printed in Mallorca by Mossèn Alcover in a format very similar to Creeley's own Divers Press and Black Mountain Review (also printed by Alcover)This  is the earliest printing of the poem in my library, but not the first. According to Mary Novik's Robert Creeley: An Inventory 1945-1970, the poem first appeared in All That Is Lovely in Men (Jargon Society, 1955) but it's hard to imagine that it wasn't published in a periodical first. Anyone? Creeley's publication history is fascinating, particularly in the early years when the little books begin to appear: Le Fou (Golden Goose, 1952); The Kind Of Act Of (Divers Press, 1953); The Immoral Proposition (Jargon Society, 1953); All That Is Lovely in Men (Jargon Society, 1955); and If You (The Porpoise Bookshop, 1956). There's a lot of reprinting in these ambitious years; poems appear and disappear and get reshuffled in different books that get folded into larger collections leading up to For Love in 1962. For those that aren't very concerned with publication histories, this is often considered the poet's first 'book,' and insofar as major publishers are concerned, it is. The landmark collection from Scribner's appeared in 1962, encapsulating most of the poet's first decade of published writing, but it's worth noting that the poet's first book-book was actually his 11th—that's an average of a book a year, plus appearances in magazines, etc. by the time he was 36!


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