“Entering the Edges”: Visual and Verbal Landscapes in Robert Creeley’s Collaborations

In: Reflective Landscapes of the Anglophone Countries

This paper will discuss the American poet Robert Creeley’s treatment of the concept of landscape in relation to his collaborative activity. Writing after observing his collaborators’ works Creeley deals with many artistic landscapes: on the one hand we will explore the very notion of “artistic landscape”; on the other hand we will analyze Creeley’s verbal response to the visual representations produced by his collaborators.

Robert Creeley and Alex Katz’s collaboration, Edges (1999), will be closely studied. In this particular case Creeley deals with both a natural landscape and someone else’s (Katz’s) representation of this same landscape. Inclusion and exclusion, present and past, abstraction and concreteness therefore alternate in his poem. Moreover, Creeley’s role as spectator will enable us to emphasize the distinction between seeing a landscape and seeing a representation of landscape. We will show how the difference dwells in the very notion of spectatorship.