(1926 — 2005)
Robert Creeley lived in West Acton from ages 4 to 15 and always considered it home. Robert said that he "learned to read" at Acton Memorial Library.
Through the Black Mountain Review and his own critical writings, Creeley helped to define a counter-tradition to the literary establishment. He published more than sixty books of poetry in the United States and abroad and more than a dozen books of prose, essays and interviews. He also edited Charles Olson'sSelected Poems (1993), The Essential Burns (1989), and Whitman: Selected Poems (1973).
Creeley’s many honors include the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award, the Bollingen Prize, the Frost Medal, the Shelley Memorial Award, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Rockefeller Foundation grant, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation. He served as New York State Poet Laureate from 1989 to 1991 and spent many years as the Samuel P. Capen Professor of Poetry and Humanities at SUNY, Buffalo. He also taught at Brown University. Robert Creeley was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 1999.
Acton rediscovered Creeley’s connection to the town through his chance meeting with Acton resident and poet Robert Clawson in late 2000. On April 11, 2001, Creeley returned to Acton to read to and interact with students in the Acton Boxborough Regional High School. Acton officially proclaimed this day to be “Robert Creeley Day,” and thus began the annual awarding of the “Robert Creeley Award.” Each year, the award winning poet reads to a community audience and a student audience.