Robert Creeley was born in 1926 in Arlington, Massachusetts. As a young child, he lost use of his left eye. Despite this visual impairment, he served the U.S. Army during the Second World War. After returning from combat in Burma, he attended Black Mountain College in North Carolina. The school was artistically rich, and a group of poets known as the Black Mountain poets attended the institution. Creeley became a principal member of this movement, along with such poets as Joel Oppenheimer and Charles Olson. He published his first poetry collection in 1952.
After graduating from Black Mountain College, Creeley was drawn towards the poetry scene of San Francisco in 1956. There he met notable literary figures such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. The unconventional stylistic techniques of the Beats, of which Ginsberg and Kerouac were figureheads, would leave a lasting impact on Creeley. He then moved to New Mexico where he received a Masters Degree and worked as teacher. He then moved to the University of Buffalo where he would teach for several decades. His 1962, "For Love," elicited much positive attention and cemented him among the forefront of American poets of his time.
"The World" was first published in 1962. It is very representative of Creeley's style. It has a restrained employment of unrhymed tercets and, typical of Creeley, contains frequent use of enjambment. It has a foreboding sentiment but is not overwhelmingly dark and ends on a hopeful note. It was later included in The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley 1945-1975. Creeley continued to write and teach until his death in 2005.