Robert Bly

March 7, 2007


Served in the navy during WWII and then graduated from Harvard
Of Norwegian descent, spent a year in Norway
Translated a great number of writers
Reached his widest audience after the publication of Iron John: A Book About Men which sought to reclaim an archetypal masculinity of wisdon, strength and courage
Prime mover of Deep Image school
Poetry can be thought of as an underground or mystical imagism
Uses simple diction to describe external landscapes
Shunned formalism and contrived, cerebral poetry of the American acaemy
Poems often begin in homely setting
Much of his poetry has a political aspect, especially poems written about the Vietnam War


IIt is a clearing deep in a forest: overhanging boughs / Make a low place. Here the citizens we know during the day, / The ministers, the department heads, / Appear changed: the stockholders of large steel companies / In small wooden shoes: here are the generals dressed as gamboling / lambs.
Tonight they burn the rice-supplies; tomorrow / They lecture on Thoreau; tonight they move around trees; / Tomorrow they pick the twigs from their clothes; / Tonight they throw the firebombs; tomorrow / They read the Declaration of Independence; tomorrow they are in / church.
Ants are gathered around an old tree. / In a choir they sing, in harsh and gravelly voices, / Old Etruscan songs on tyranny. / Toads nearby clap their small hands, and join / The fiery songs, their five long toes trembling in the soaked earth.

-Johnson’s Cabinet Watched by Ants (in whole)

Dentists continue to water their lawns even in the rain; / Hands developed with terrible labor by apes / Hang from the sleeves of evangelists; / There are murdere kings in the light-bulbs outside movie theaters; / The coffins of the poor are hibernating in piles of new tires.
The janitor sits troubled by the boiler, / And the hotel keeper shuffles the cards of insanity. / The President dreams of invading
Cuba. / Bushes are growing over the outdoor grills, / Vines over the yachts and the leather seats.
The city broods over ash cans and darkening mortar. / On the far shore, at
Coney Island, dark children / Play on the chilling beach: a sprig of black seaweed, / Shells, a skyful of birds, / While the mayor sits with his head in his hands.

-The Great Society (in whole)


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