Robert Bly – Death : Robert Elwood Bly, 95-year-old, an American poet, essayist, activist, and leader of the mythopoetic men’s movement passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. His best-known prose book is Iron John: A Book About Men, which spent 62 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list, and is a key text of the mythopoetic men’s movement. A Facebook user Dan Goodfellow shared the news of his death saying he was blessed to have him, and his voice will carry on through generations. “aw, this one bites hard. RIP Robert Bly, such an instrumental figure in Men’s Work ( or however you choose to label it), his seminal work ‘Iron John’ is a staggeringly powerful exploration of myth and modern manhood, one of those books that I can’t recommend enough. It was from this work that my shamanic men’s workshops drew inspiration, and I’ve been honored to be of help on the pathway of self-discovery to the men who have attended them. Thank you, Robert, your voice will carry on through generations, and we were blessed to have you.”
Born Robert Elwood Bly on December 23, 1926, in Lac Qui Parle County, Minnesota, to Jacob and Alice Bly. He graduated from high school in 1944 and was enlisted in the United States Navy. He served for two years. After one year at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, he transferred to Harvard University, joining other young persons who became known as writers. He graduated in 1950 and was in New York for a few years. In 1954, Bly studied for two years at the University of Iowa at the Iowa Writers Workshop, completing a master’s degree in fine arts. In 1956, he received a Fulbright Grant to travel to Norway and translate Norwegian poetry into English. While there, he became acquainted with the work of a number of major international poets whose work was barely known in the United States. He decided to start a literary magazine in the United States for poetry translation. The Fifties, The Sixties, and The Seventies introduced many of these poets to the writers of his generation. He also published essays on American poets. He lived on a farm in Minnesota with his wife Carol (née McLean), whom he married in 1955, and their four children. Carol Bly was also a writer, winning awards for her short stories and novels. Robert and Carol divorced in 1979. Their daughter Mary Bly is a professor at Fordham University and author of romance novels. In 1980, Bly married Ruth Counsell. He is the stepfather of her two children.
He was the University of Minnesota Library’s 2002 Distinguished Writer. In 2000, he received the McKnight Foundation’s Distinguished Artist Award, and in 2002, the Maurice English Poetry Award. He published and translated so many collections of poetry. His book The Night Abraham Called to the Stars was nominated for a Minnesota Book Award. He also edited the prestigious Best American Poetry 1999. Bly was named Minnesota’s first poet laureate in February 2008, in that year he also contributed a poem and an Afterword to From the Other World. In February 2013, he was awarded the Robert Frost Medal, a lifetime achievement recognition given by the Poetry Society of America.
Robert Bly’s obituary will be organized by the family.