Blaser, Robin

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Blaser, Robin

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1925-2009

History

Robin Blaser was born in Colorado on May 18, 1925, and raised in Idaho. He was educated at the University of California at Berkeley, where he was a principal member of the group of poets that became known as the ‘Berkeley Renaissance’, together with Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan. In 1955 he moved to Boston, where he worked as a librarian at Harvard’s Widener Library. He returned to San Francisco in 1959 where he worked at the California Historical Society and San Francisco State University. He moved to Vancouver, BC in 1966 and worked for Simon Fraser University, where he taught in the English Department until his retirement as a Full Professor in 1986. He became a Canadian citizen in 1972. Blaser has influenced and mentored many writers, including Stan Persky, Brian Fawcett, Sharon Thesen, George Bowering, and Phyllis Webb, among others. He has published numerous works of poetry, many of them sections of a single long serial-poem collected in The Holy Forest (1993). He was also an essayist, librettist, and editor, most notably of The Collected Books of Jack Spicer (1975). In 1995 his achievement was celebrated with a major conference, The Recovery of the Public World, held in Vancouver and attended by many notable Canadian and American poets. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2005. In 2006 he received a special Lifetime Recognition Award from the trustees of the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry. He also won the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry in 2008 for his revised and expanded edition of The Holy Forest (2008). In 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Simon Fraser University. Blaser wrote and resided in Vancouver, BC until his death in 2009.

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