Robert Duncan

Robert Duncan (1919-1988) was one of the most important American poets to emerge since World War II. A seminal figure in what has come to be known as the Black Mountain Group of poets, Duncan also figured prominently in the San Francisco Bay Area movement in the 1950's and 1960's.

A distinctive voice in American poetry, Duncan’s idiosyncratic poetics drew on myth, occultism, religion—including the theosophical tradition in which he was raised—and innovative writing practices such as projective verse and composition by field. 

Duncan’s work drew on a wide range of references, including Homer, Dante, and the work of modernist poets such as H.D. His many books of poetry include Heavenly City Earthly City (1947), The Opening of the Field(1960), Roots and Branches (1964), A Book of Resemblances (1966), Bending the Bow(1968), and, after a 15-year publishing hiatus, the influential volumes Ground Work I: Before the War (1984) and Ground Work II: In the Dark (1987). His Selected Poems(1993) was published posthumously, as was his volume of collected writings, and personal tribute to the work of H.D., The H.D. Book (2011).

Go here to explore the finding aid for the Robert Duncan Papers at Washington University.

Modern Literature Collection: The First Fifty Years