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 so-called 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.
The Holy Forest: Collected Poems of Robin Blaser, Revised and Expanded Edition, Miriam Nichols (Editor), Charles Bernstein (Afterword), Robert Creeley (Foreword)
Paperback: 552 pages
Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (September 10, 2008)
Amazon: The Holy Forest: Collected Poems of Robin Blaser, Revised and Expanded Edition
Robin Blaser, one of the key North American poets of the postwar period, emerged from the "Berkeley Renaissance" of the 1940s and 1950s as a central figure in that burgeoning literary scene. The Holy Forest, now spanning five decades, is Blaser's highly acclaimed lifelong serial poem. This long-awaited revised and expanded edition includes numerous published volumes of verse, the ongoing "Image-Nation" and "Truth Is Laughter" series, and new work from 1994 to 2004. Blaser's passion for world making draws inspiration from the major poets and philosophers of our time--from friends and peers such as Robert Duncan, Jack Spicer, Charles Olson, Charles Bernstein, and Steve McCaffery to virtual companions in thought such as Hannah Arendt, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida, among others. This comprehensive compilation of Blaser's prophetic meditations on the histories, theories, emotions, experiments, and countermemories of the late twentieth century will stand as the definitive collection of his unique and luminous poetic oeuvre.
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