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Review Of Baby Disaster By Robert Creeley

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Creeley's poems aren't just words, even though that's how they can

appear. His lyrics represent so much more then a single glance can justify.

"Baby Disaster" has many elements that Creeley is known for, but it is a

quite unconventional poem for him in other ways. "Baby Disaster" is written

for the two children he had with his second wife, Penelope Highton. The

poem was written in 1984, and his children were born in 1978 and 1980.

It's apparent that Creeley was thinking about the impact his children

have on his life, how much his life has changed since they became a part of

it, and how different it will be in the future when they're grown up. He

refers to this confusion as, "Blurred headlights of the cars out there/ war

of the worlds or something" (lines 1-2). The blurred headlights represent

the confusion that his world was thrown into because of his children. He no

longer sees everything as clearly; he didn't know what to do or where to

go. His old life is coming to an end, thus the reference to war of the

worlds, an alien invasion of Earth. To him, his children are like aliens;

they've invaded his peaceful and quiet life and ended all that he once


Creeley's life is now in chaos. He doesn't know left from right or up

from down. He feels lost and alone and is scared that there's no one there

to help him pick up the fallen pieces of his life: "Ideas of it all like

dropped change/ trying to find it on the sidewalk at night" (lines 3-4).

The dropped change represents his life, which has fallen to pieces.

Creeley's life is in disarray, the world is dark, and there is no one to

help him pick the pieces up. He feels helpless like we feel helpless when

disaster strikes close to home, how any American felt immediately after


In the second stanza of the poem, Creeley leaps forward in time. He's

beginning to imagine his life when his children have grown up and moved

out, "Nothing doing anymore, grown up, moved out/piddling little's going to

come of it" (lines 5-6). His kids have grown up and his chaotic life now

seems mundane and slow; in addition, they no longer live with him and

Penelope. Although they are his own flesh and blood, he doesn't think very

highly of them. He loves them and wants the best for them, but he wishes he

didn't have them in the first place. He didn't want to have kids so late in

life. He was in his fifties when he had his first kid. Not only was he not

prepared for the responsibility which they demand, but he really doesn't

think they'll be worth it. He's not excited about them being born, yet he

knows that it's going to be depressing to see them go because of how

attached he will become to them.

I wouldn't go as far to say that Robert Creeley is a cheap bast**d,

but I would say that he wants to spend his money on himself and his wife.

"All you put in the bank or spent/ you didn't want to, wanted to keep it

all," (lines 7-8). He obviously cares for his children; otherwise he

wouldn't do these things that he doesn't want to do. But like most other

men he would rather keep



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