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Friends, Family to Celebrate Creeley's 80th Birthday

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: May 17, 2006

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- What would have been the 80th birthday of the late University at Buffalo poet and faculty member Robert Creeley will be celebrated this weekend in The Church on Delaware Avenue and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery with a variety of events, including poetry reading, film screenings and musical presentations.

"A Poet in Buffalo: A Community Celebration of the Life and Work of Robert Creeley (1926-2005) on the Occasion of His 80th Birthday" is sponsored by the Poetry Collection, Samuel P. Capen Chair of American Culture and Department of English (Edward H. Butler Chair), all at UB; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery; Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center; Just Buffalo Literary Center; Righteous Babe Records; and Talking Leaves Books.

The celebration will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday in The Church, 341 Delaware Ave.. Among the activities will be poetry readings and tributes to Creeley by friends, family members and special guests; film screenings; live music; new and archival audio and video presentations; and displays of archival treasures, including rare books and Creeley's collaborations with visual artists. The night will culminate with an 80th birthday toast at midnight. Admission is $5.

At 2 p.m. on Sunday, the festivities will move to the auditorium in the Albright Knox Art Gallery with screenings of films about Creeley directed by UB faculty members Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian, and the world premiere of a Creeley musical composition by UB faculty member David Felder.

Jackson, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Samuel P. Capen Professor of American Culture in the UB departments of English and American Studies, and Christian, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in the UB Department of English, will introduce three films: "Creeley (1988, 59 min., 16mm), "Robert Creeley: The Persistence of Verse" (2002, 17 min., DVD), and a September 2001 conversation with Jackson that was included on the first issue of the DVD magazine Substance-TV.

The musical composition "So Quiet Here," composed and produced by Felder, Birge-Cary Chair and professor of composition in the UB Department of Music, is an original electronic-sound composition in four parts that was inspired by and incorporates the words and voice of Creeley. The performance will be free and open to the public.