American poet, Robert Duncan (1919-1988), was born in Oakland, California. His mother died in childbirth when Robert was born; Robert was subsequently adopted and renamed. Robert Duncan reclaimed his birth name in 1941.
Robert Duncan began studying at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1935. There, he continued writing poetry; he’d been encouraged in this by a high school teacher. He left university after 2 years and moved to New York, where he participated in emerging arts scenes, such as American Surrealism.
During the 1960s, Duncan achieved success with 3 books: The Opening of the Field (1960), Roots and Branches (1969), and Bending the Bow (1968).
Robert Duncan is regarded as one of the most influential of American post-war poets. Much of his work was influenced by his theosophist adoptive parents and by his anarchic politics.