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The Charles Olson Reader
Edited by Ralph Maud
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (280 pages)
(Pub. Aug 2005)
This morning of the small snow
I count the blessings, the leak in the faucet
which makes of the sink time, the drop
of the water on water
from The Songs of Maximus, 'Song 3'
Charles Olson (1910-70) believed that poetry exists in an 'open field' through which the poet transmits energy to the receptive reader. Olson's influence on the development of British and American poetry through his writing and teaching is immense. His work encompasses myth, history, scholarship and politics, grand theories and delight in the particular variousness of life, all marked by the curiosity and openness to experience that he asked of his readers. Olson grew up and returned to live in the seafaring town of Gloucester, Massachusetts, and it was from the life and language of its citizens that his poetry drew its strengths.
The Reader includes extracts from the full range of Olson's poetry and prose, including letters, interviews and the full text of the key essay 'Projective Verse'. Ralph Maud, a colleague of Olson's from 1963-5 and the editor of Olson's letters, has supplied an introduction, supporting illustrations, notes and bibliography to this essential resource.
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations and References
The Resistance (for Jean Riboud)
The Post Office
As the Dead Prey Upon Us
III Projective Verse
IV Maximus (1): Polis
The Songs of Maximus
Capt Christopher Levett (of York)
Maximus to Gloucester, Letter 27 [withheld]
V In Thicket
In Cold Hell, in Thicket
The Ring of
VI Outside the Box
The Gate & the Center
from Mayan Letters
To Gerhardt, There, Among Europe's Things... 1
Variations Done for Gerald Van De Wiele
VII Maximus (2): Cosmology
Letter - 41 [broken off]
MAXIMUS, FROM DOGTOW - I
MAXIMUS, FROM DOGTOWN - II
I forced the calm grey waters
A Maximus Song
Maximus, at the Harbor
A Later Note on / Letter - 15
'View': fr the Orontes / fr where Typhon
after the storm was over
3rd letter on Georges, unwritten
to enter into their bodies
The Cow of Dogtown
All night long
[MAXIMUS, FROM DOGTOWN - IV]
VIII Causal Mythology
from Causal Mythology
IX Maximus (3): Earthly Paradise
having descried the nation
Maximus to himself June 1964
Maximus of Gloucester
[to get the rituals straight
Celestial evening, October 1967
* Added to making a Republic
I'm going to hate to leave this Earthly Paradise
The first of morning was always over there
I live underneath the light of day
Appendix: 'Maximus, to himself'
from 'Paris Review Interview'
'My favourite scholarly book of the moment...it effortlessly seduces the reader into a meaningful world of thought and study.'
Tears in the Fence
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