Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

April 01, 2005

Robert Creeley, 78, one of America's most celebrated poets and for more than half a century a leading figure in the literary avant-garde, died Wednesday in Odessa, Texas, of complications from lung disease.

He was variously associated with such literary modernists as Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams, such Beat writers as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, and the various writers and artists associated with the Black Mountain School in North Carolina, most notably the poet Charles Olson.

Mr. Creeley also liked to point to the influence on his writing of abstract expressionist painting and such jazz musicians as Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. Jazz taught him, he once wrote, that "you can write directly from that which you feel."

Mr. Creeley's poetry emphasized the personal, the lyric, the improvised. In poetry, he once said, "form is never more than the expression of content."

Mr. Creeley published more than 60 books of verse and more than a dozen of prose.

Fred Korematsu, 86, who unsuccessfully challenged the creation of Japanese-American internment camps during World War II before finally winning in court nearly four decades later, died Wednesday at his daughter's home in Larkspur, Calif., attorney Dale Minami said.

Mr. Korematsu became a symbol of civil rights for challenging the internment orders that sent 120,000 Japanese-Americans to government camps. His conviction for opposing the internment was overturned in U.S. District Court in 1983. He helped win a national apology and reparations for internment-camp survivors and their families in 1988.

He was honored by President Clinton in 1998 with the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The son of Japanese immigrants, Mr. Korematsu was born in Oakland, Calif. He was living there in 1942, a 23-year-old welder, when military officials ordered all Japanese-Americans on the West Coast - including U.S. citizens - to report for transportation to remote camps.

Nearly all complied, including Mr. Korematsu's family and friends, who urged him to go along. Refusing, he was arrested, convicted of violating the order and sent to an internment camp in Utah. The Supreme Court upheld the conviction in December 1944, agreeing with the government that it was justified by the need to combat sabotage and espionage.

In recent years, he remained active in civil rights issues, speaking out against parts of the Patriot Act that he felt violated the rights of Arab-Americans.

Dr. Wilfred G. Bigelow, 91, a cardiac surgeon who created a technique of cooling the body to allow open-heart surgery and also helped develop an early pacemaker, died of heart failure Sunday in Toronto.

As a young surgeon at the University of Toronto in the 1940s, Dr. Bigelow drew on his earlier research on hypothermia to theorize that cooling patients before an operation would curb the body's demands for oxygen and slow its circulation, allowing for longer and safer access to the heart.

He successfully tested the theory on a dog in 1949 and announced the results at a meeting of the American Surgical Association in 1950. Three years later, the first successful surgery to use the cooling technique on a human was performed. The patient was anesthetized and placed on a bed of ice to give surgeons a window of roughly 10 minutes of access to the heart.

The hypothermia technique was supplanted by the heart-lung machine in the 1960s, although it is now used on parts of the heart during surgery in tandem with the machine to allow access to the heart for two or more hours.

In the course of his work with hypothermia, Dr. Bigelow made observations that contributed to the development of the pacemaker. He revived an animal heart in cardiac arrest by probing it with a surgical tool and theorized that its beating could be controlled in the same way by electrical stimulation.

In 1950, Dr. Bigelow, working with Dr. John Callaghan and an electrical engineer, Jack Hopps, created a radio-size unit that was used to restart a patient's heart after cooling.

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