a1 University of Hull. Email: email@example.com.
Multiple uses of the spatial deictic “here” are a notable feature of Robert Creeley's poetry. For example, the Collected Poems 1945–1975 contains five poems called “Here” and two called “Here Again,” and after only a hundred pages one has encountered at least eight uses of “here.” Similarly, Charles Altieri has noted a movement in Creeley's poetry from saying “there” to being able to say “here” as a statement of “an ideal of pure presence, of a relationship between subject and world where each is transparent to and completely adequate for the other.” In this essay, I will examine examples of Creeley's “heres” in the early poetry, up to and including Words (1967) and Pieces (1969). I will argue that while some of Creeley's uses of “here” do involve problems of location and ideal presence, other uses speak to problems of agency, form and the body. I will go on to argue that, ultimately, Creeley's “heres” map a search for location that discovers each new articulation is a disorientating reorientation. This reading of Creeley's use of “here” will be informed by a number of other sources including Jonathan Culler's pioneering work on deixis in Structuralist Poetics; J. P. Denny's comparative work on spatial adverbs in English, Eskimo and Kikuyu; Heidegger's discussion of “here” and “yonder”; and the paintings of Barnett Newman which are notable for their deictic titles. Reading these with and back into Creeley's poetry enables a greater understanding of how spatial deixis works in lyric poetry and how it relates to Creeley's reflexive lyric.
(Online publication April 08 2011)