Biography of Robin Blaser
Robin Francis Blaser (May 18, 1925 – May 7, 2009) was an author and poet in both the United States and Canada.
Born in Denver, Colorado, Blaser grew up in Idaho, and came to Berkeley, California, in 1944. There he met Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan, becoming a key figure in the San Francisco Renaissance of the 1950s and early 1960s. He moved to Canada in 1966, joining the faculty of Simon Fraser University; after taking early retirement in the 1980s, he held the position of Professor Emeritus. He lived in the Kitsilano neighborhood of Vancouver, British Columbia.
In June 1995, for Blaser's 70th birthday, a conference was held in Vancouver to pay tribute to his contribution to Canadian poetry. The conference, known as the "Recovery of the Public World" (a phrase borrowed from Hannah Arendt), was attended by poets from around the world, including Canadian poets Michael Ondaatje, Steve McCaffery, Phyllis Webb, George Bowering, Fred Wah, Stan Persky and Daphne Marlatt; and poets who reside in the United States, including Michael Palmer and Norma Cole (who was born in Canada, subsequently migrating to San Francisco).
Blaser was also well known as the editor of The Collected Books of Jack Spicer, which includes Blaser's essay, The Practice of Outside. The 1993 publication The Holy Forest represents his collected poems to that date.
In 2006, Blaser received a special Lifetime Recognition Award given by the trustees of the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry, which also awards the annual Griffin Poetry Prize. Blaser won the Prize itself in 2008.
Robin Blaser Poems
The Truth Is Laughter 10
one should never play martyr there are martyrs beyond you
Inside I brought willows, the tips bursting,
There is no saluation. The harvesters with gunny sacks bend picking up jade stones.
[Dear Dusty Moth]
Dear dusty moth wearing miller's cloth, Sophia Nichols' soft
Dreams, April 1981
so it is death is the condition of infinite form— the rebellion of particulars,
For Gustave Moreau
The streets are my body or rather the wish
The root and mirror of a plant its shape
It is essentially reluctance the language a darkness, a friendship, tying to the real but it is unreal
The poets have always preceded, as Mallarmé preceded Cézanne, neck and neck that was no
Poem by the Charles River
It is their way to find the surface when they die. Fish feed on fish
The absence was there before the meeting the radical of presence and absence does not return with death's chance- encounter, as in the old duality, life or death, wherein
The wind hits and returns it is easy to personify a new place and language, but the new body stings
Our suppers stunned on the table hold radios hold
let me get the vocabulary of this song right—the curious happiness of poetry—
let me get the vocabulary of this song
right—the curious happiness of poetry—
the word materialism dropped by the way
side—its mereness of the other face of
spiritualism—just two notes to sing—
repetitious dualism—do—do—once in a while
one squawks louder than the other, baby
crows being weaned before the next batch—
thus, singing, move from how it does matter—