Robert Bly life and biography

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Robert Bly biography

Date of birth : 1926-12-23
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Madison, Minnesota, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-06-07
Credited as : Poet, Iron John: A Book About Men,

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Robert Elwood Bly is an American poet, author, activist and leader of the Mythopoetic Men's Movement.

Bly's early collection of poems, Silence in the Snowy Fields, was published in 1962, and its plain, imagistic style had considerable influence on American verse of the next two decades. The following year, he published "A Wrong Turning in American Poetry", an essay in which he made a case against the influences of Eliot, Pound, Marianne Moore, and William Carlos Williams, in favour of the more direct work of writers such as Pablo Neruda, César Vallejo, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Antonio Machado, and Rainer Maria Rilke.

In 1966, Bly co-founded American Writers Against the Vietnam War, and went on to lead much of the opposition to that war among writers. In 1968, he signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the war. When he won the National Book Award for The Light Around the Body, he contributed the prize money to the Resistance. During the 1970s, he published eleven books of poetry, essays, and translations, celebrating the power of myth, Indian ecstatic poetry, meditation, and storytelling. During the 1980s he published Loving a Woman in Two Worlds, The Wingéd Life: Selected Poems and Prose of Thoreau, The Man in the Black Coat Turns, and A Little Book on the Human Shadow.During the sixties he was of great help to the Bengali Hungryalist poets who faced anti-establishment trial at Kolkata, India.

Among his most famous works is Iron John: A Book About Men, an international bestseller which has been translated into many languages. The book is credited with starting the Mythopoetic men's movement in the United States. Bly frequently conducts workshops for men with James Hillman, Michael J. Meade, and others, as well as workshops for men and women with Marion Woodman. He has taught at the annual Great Mother Conference since 1975. He maintains a friendly correspondence with Clarissa Pinkola Estés, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.

Bly was the University of Minnesota Library's 2002 Distinguished Writer. He received The McKnight Foundation's Distinguished Artist Award in 2000, and the Maurice English Poetry Award in 2002. He has published more than 40 collections of poetry, edited many others, and published translations of poetry and prose from such languages as Swedish, Norwegian, German, Spanish, Persian and Urdu. His book The Night Abraham Called to the Stars was nominated for a Minnesota Book Award. He also edited the prestigious Best American Poetry 1999 (Scribners).

In 2006 the University of Minnesota purchased Bly's archive, which contained more than 80,000 pages of handwritten manuscripts; a journal spanning nearly 50 years; notebooks of his "morning poems"; drafts of translations; hundreds of audio and videotapes, and correspondence with many writers such as James Wright, Donald Hall and James Dickey. The archive is housed at Elmer L. Andersen Library on the University of Minnesota campus. The university paid $775,000 from school funds and private donors.

In February, 2008, Bly was named Minnesota's first poet laureate. In that year he also contributed a poem and an Afterword to From the Other World: Poems in Memory of James Wright.

Author of books:

Silence in the Snowy Fields (1962, poetry)
The Light Around the Body (1968, poetry)
Sleepers Joining Hands (1973, poetry)
Jumping Out of Bed (1973, poetry)
Old Man Rubbing His Eyes (1974, poetry)
This Body Is Made of Camphor and Gopherwood (1977, poetry)
This Tree Will Be Here for a Thousand Years (1979, poetry)
The Man in the Black Coat Turns (1981, poetry)
Mirabai Versions (1984, poetry)
Iron John: A Book About Men (1990, poetry)
What Have I Ever Lost by Dying? (1992, poetry)
Meditations on the Insatiable Soul (1994, poetry)
Morning Poems (1997, poetry)
Eating the Honey of Words (1999, poetry)
The Maiden King: The Reunion of Masculine and Feminine (1999, poetry, with Marion Woodman)
Snowbanks North of the House (1999, poetry)
The Night Abraham Called to the Stars (2001, poetry)
My Sentence Was a Thousand Years of Joy (2005, poetry)

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