Robert Bly was born in Minnesota in 1926 to parents of Norwegian stock. He enlisted in the Navy in 1944 and spent two years there. After one year at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, he transferred to Harvard University and thereby jointed the famous group of writers who were undergraduates
at that time, which included Donald Hall, Adrienne Rich, Kenneth Koch, John Ashbery, Harold Brodky, George Plimpton, and John Hawkes. He graduated in 1950. His first book of poems, Silence in the Snowy Fields, was published in 1962, and his magazine was already in existence then, first called The Fifties, then The Sixties, then The Seventies, and now The Thousands, whose last issue was published last month. This magazine published some of the earliest translations of major South American and European poets, among them Cesar Vallejo, Pablo Neruda, Gunnar Ekelof, Tomas Transtromer, Rolf Jacobsen, George Trakl and others. He has supported the value of translation for American poets. In 1966 he help found American Writers Against the Vietnam War. For his collection of poems about the war called The Light Around the Body, he received the National Book Award in 1968. The prize money was turned over to the Resistance. During the 70s he published eleven books of poetry, essays, and translations, celebrating the power of myth, Indian ecstatic poetry, meditation, and storytelling. During the 80s he published Loving a Woman in Two Worlds, The Winged Life: Selected Poems and Prose ofThoreau, The Man in the Black Coat Turns, and A Little Book on the Human Shadow. His work Iron John: A Book About Men has been translated into many languages. In 2000 he won the McKnight Foundation’s Distinguished Artist Award. His two most recent books of poetry are Eating the Honey of Words: New and Selected Poems, and The Night Abraham Called to the Stars.