Selected Poems

Selected Poems

by Charles Olson, Robert Creeley
     
 

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"I have assumed a great deal in the selection of the poems from such a large and various number, making them a discourse unavoidably my own as well as any Olson himself might have chosen to offer. I had finally no advice but the long held habit of our using one another, during his life, to act as a measure, a bearing, an unabashed response to what either might write

Overview

"I have assumed a great deal in the selection of the poems from such a large and various number, making them a discourse unavoidably my own as well as any Olson himself might have chosen to offer. I had finally no advice but the long held habit of our using one another, during his life, to act as a measure, a bearing, an unabashed response to what either might write or say."‹Robert Creeley A seminal figure in post-World War II literature, Charles Olson has helped define the postmodern sensibility. His poetry embraces themes of empowering love, political responsibility, the wisdom of dreams, the intellect as a unit of energy, the restoration of the archaic, and the transformation of consciousness‹all carried in a voice both intimate and grand, American and timeless, impassioned and coolly demanding. In this selection of some 70 poems, Robert Creeley has sought to present a personal reading of Charles Olson's decisive and inimitable work‹"unequivocal instances of his genius"‹over the many years of their friship.

Author Biography: Charles Olson (1910-1970) was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. His first career was in politics, but he soon turned to writing and by the late Forties his work had received major attention. He waswriting teacher and then rector at Black Mountain College, where Robert Creeley came to teach as well. Iconoclastic and controversial, Olson, along with Creeley, launched a postmodern, free-verse revolution, and his work opened new pathways in thought and language to a generation of dissident writers. Other volumes of Charles Olson's poetry are published by the University of California Press: The Maximus Poems (1983) and The Collected Poems of Charles Olson(1987). Robert Creeley has long been an advocate of Charles Olson's work. Nine volumes of their correspondence have been published by Black Sparrow Press. The University of California Press publishes The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1945-1975 (1982), his Collected Prose (1988), Collected Essays (1989), and Selected Poems (1991).

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This judicious selection of Olson's poems will, one hopes, make him known to a wider audience. Poet Creeley's introduction aligns Olson's Maximus Poems with Pound's Cantos and Williams's Paterson , works which also, by their diverse forms and materials, prove too daunting for some. Creeley stresses Olson's political impulse, but the scale of Olson's poems seems more historical, if not cosmic. Raised in Worcester and Gloucester, Mass., here Olson looks back not only to the era of childhood and his parents' lives, but to the explorations of Captain John Smith, and the silent prehistory of the continent itself. The aim of this autobiographical-historical venture is not personal, Olson insists: ``The only interesting thing / is if one can be / an image / of man.'' However, he recognizes that the effort to achieve a synthesis of the American consciousness and experience is forever displaced by a nation ``which never / lets anyone / come to / shore,'' especially in an age when humans are ``merely /something to be wrought, to be shaped, to be carved, for use, for / others.'' What is left is the severe beauty of memory and Olson's elegiac praise of life, ``the precessions / of me, the generation of those facts / which are my words, it is coming / from all that I no longer am, yet am, / the slow westward motion of / more than I am.'' (Mar . )
The New Yorker
This selection, by Robert Creeley, should go far toward helping Olson's spirit rest easy. -- The New Yorker

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520212329
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
12/01/1997
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
1,347,867
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.88(d)

Meet the Author


Charles Olson (1910-1970) was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. His first career was in politics, but he soon turned to writing and by the late Forties his work had received major attention. He was writing teacher and then rector at Black Mountain College, where Robert Creeley came to teach as well. Iconoclastic and controversial, Olson, along with Creeley, launched a postmodern, free-verse revolution, and his work opened new pathways in thought and language to a generation of dissident writers. Other volumes of Charles Olson's poetry are published by the University of California Press: The Maximus Poems (1983) and The Collected Poems of Charles Olson (1987).
Robert Creeley has long been an advocate of Charles Olson's work. Nine volumes of their correspondence have been published by Black Sparrow Press. The University of California Press publishes The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1945-1975 (1982), his Collected Prose (1988), Collected Essays (1989), and Selected Poems (1991).

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