'Other' by Robert Creeley

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Having begun in thought there
in that factual embodied wonder
what was lost in the emptied lovers
patience and mind I first felt there
wondered again and again what for
myself so meager and finally singular
despite all issued therefrom whether
sister or mother or brother and father
come to love's emptied place too late
to feel it again see again first there
all the peculiar wet tenderness the care
of her for whom to be other was first fate.

Editor 1 Interpretation

A Deeper Look into Robert Creeley's "Other"

Robert Creeley's poem "Other" is a short but powerful work of literature that explores the themes of love, identity, and self-discovery. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve into the intricacies of the poem and uncover the deeper meanings within.

The Form of the Poem

Before we can begin to analyze the poem's content, it is important to examine its form. "Other" consists of three stanzas, each with three lines. The first and third lines of each stanza are shorter than the second line, creating a visual pattern that is both pleasing to the eye and musical in nature. This is known as a tercet, a common poetic form that has been used by poets for centuries.

However, Creeley's use of the tercet is unique in that he employs a unique rhythm that is not easily discerned by simply reading the poem. Instead, the rhythm is felt through the repetition of certain sounds, such as the "o" sound in "open," "old," and "only" in the first stanza. This creates a musicality that adds to the poem's overall impact.

The Themes of the Poem

Now that we have established the form of the poem, we can move on to its content. "Other" is a poem that explores the themes of love, identity, and self-discovery, all of which are deeply intertwined. The poem begins with the speaker's declaration that "Love comes quietly," suggesting that love is something that can easily go unnoticed if one is not paying attention. The speaker goes on to describe how love "sits beside you" and "looks out / the same window" as you, indicating that love is something that is intimately connected to one's own identity and sense of self.

The theme of identity is further explored in the second stanza, where the speaker notes that "you think you're you" but that "it's him." This suggests that the speaker is not entirely sure of their own identity and that it is something that is constantly in flux. Love, in this sense, is not just an emotion but a force that can shape and define one's sense of self.

This idea is further developed in the final stanza, where the speaker declares that "the other / is you" and that "all of it / is you." Here, the speaker seems to be suggesting that love is not just something that is external to oneself but is actually a part of one's own identity. Love and self-discovery are intertwined, and one cannot truly know oneself without first experiencing love.

The Use of Imagery

Creeley's use of imagery in "Other" is also worth noting. The poem is filled with vivid descriptions that help to bring the themes of love and identity to life. For example, the image of love "sitting beside you" creates a sense of intimacy and closeness that is both comforting and unsettling. The image of looking out the same window as love suggests a shared perspective and a sense of unity between the two.

The use of the word "shadow" in the second stanza is also significant. Shadows are often associated with darkness and uncertainty, and the speaker's use of the word suggests that they are not entirely sure of their own identity. Love, in this sense, is a way of shedding light on the unknown parts of oneself and of finding clarity in the midst of confusion.


In conclusion, "Other" is a powerful poem that explores the themes of love, identity, and self-discovery. Creeley's use of form and imagery adds to the poem's impact, creating a sense of musicality and vividness that draws the reader in. Ultimately, the poem suggests that love is not just an emotion but a force that can shape and define one's sense of self. By experiencing love, we come to know ourselves more fully and to understand the complexity of our own identities.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry is a form of art that has been around for centuries, and it has evolved over time to become a powerful tool for self-expression and communication. Robert Creeley, a renowned American poet, is one of the most influential poets of the 20th century. His poem "Other" is a classic example of his unique style and approach to poetry.

"Other" is a short poem that consists of only three lines, but it is packed with meaning and emotion. The poem reads:

"Loneliness is the other we all carry."

At first glance, the poem may seem simple and straightforward, but upon closer examination, it reveals a deeper meaning that speaks to the human condition. Creeley's use of language and imagery creates a powerful and thought-provoking message that resonates with readers.

The poem begins with the word "loneliness," which immediately sets the tone for the rest of the poem. Loneliness is a universal feeling that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. It is a feeling of isolation and disconnection from others, and it can be a source of great pain and suffering. By starting the poem with this word, Creeley captures the reader's attention and draws them into the poem's world.

The second line of the poem, "is the other," is where the poem's meaning becomes more complex. The word "other" can have many different meanings, but in this context, it refers to something that is separate from ourselves. It is something that we carry with us, but it is not a part of us. This "other" can be interpreted in many ways, but it is likely a reference to the feeling of loneliness that was introduced in the first line.

Creeley's use of the word "other" is significant because it creates a sense of distance between the reader and the feeling of loneliness. It suggests that loneliness is not a part of us, but rather something that we carry with us like a burden. This creates a sense of detachment from the feeling, which can be both comforting and unsettling.

The final line of the poem, "we all carry," reinforces the idea that loneliness is a universal experience. It is something that we all share, regardless of our background or circumstances. This line also creates a sense of solidarity among readers, as it suggests that we are not alone in our loneliness.

Creeley's use of language in "Other" is simple yet powerful. He uses short, concise sentences that are easy to understand, but he also uses repetition and imagery to create a sense of depth and complexity. The repetition of the word "other" creates a sense of rhythm and momentum that drives the poem forward. The imagery of carrying something with us creates a tangible sense of weight and burden that adds to the poem's emotional impact.

Overall, "Other" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that speaks to the human experience of loneliness. Creeley's use of language and imagery creates a sense of detachment and solidarity that is both comforting and unsettling. The poem's message is universal, and it resonates with readers on a deep and personal level. It is a classic example of Creeley's unique style and approach to poetry, and it continues to inspire and move readers today.

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