Robert Bly, one of the most prominent American poets of the last half century and author of the best-selling men’s movement classic “Iron John,” has died. He was 94, reports USAToday.
Bly, an active poet, writer and editor for more than 50 years and a celebrated translator of the work of international poets, the reports says, died Sunday at his home in Minneapolis after suffering from dementia for 14 years, his daughter, Mary Bly, said.
“Dad had no pain. … His whole family was around him so how much better can you do?” she told The Associated Press.
Bly published his first book of poems, “Silence in the Snowy Fields,” in 1962. He won the National Book Award in 1968 for “The Light Around the Body,” a book of Vietnam War protest poems. Bly donated the $1,000 prize money to the draft resistance movement.
But the native of the western Minnesota town of Madison gained his greatest fame for a work of prose called “Iron John: A Book About Men.” His meditation on modern masculinity was released in 1990, and spent more than two years on the New York Times Bestseller List.
The book helped launch a new men’s movement, but also angered some feminists and drew some ridicule by summoning images of bare-chested businessmen gathering in the forest to beat on drums and howl at the moon.
“The media dismissed all this work as drumming and running in the woods, which reduced it to something ridiculous,” Bly told the Paris Review in a 2000 interview. “I think the men’s seminars were not threatening to the women’s movement at all, but a lot of the critics of ‘Iron John’ missed the point.”