Karl Kroeber, 1926-2009
“Kroeber once portrayed William Blake, whom he admired for decades, as a kind of shamanistic figure, a poet whose allegiance was not to any standard of aesthetics but to the men and women who lived, suffered, and died around him. Blake—and this is a fact that Kroeber saw more clearly than others—was committed to showing that many of the psychological sources of man’s unhappiness could be cast aside, transmuted, overcome. His poetry stemmed from a desire to show that there was nothing unavoidable, nothing inexorable, about human suffering. Kroeber bore a much more striking resemblance to Blake than he would ever have admitted. In a world replete with self-promotion and self-pity, he worked—quietly and unpretentiously—to remind us of how things could be.”
From Philip Petrov, “Karl Kroeber, or Living and Dying in the Present,” Columbia Spectator 12 Nov. 2009: 4. Extract reprinted with permission.