Selected Letters by Charles Olson

By Charles Olson

For Charles Olson, letters weren't just a day-by-day technique of verbal exchange with associates yet have been whilst a automobile for exploratory concept. in truth, lots of Olson''s most interesting works, together with Projective Verse and the Maximus Poems, have been formulated as letters. Olson''s letters are vital to an knowing of his definition of the postmodern, and during the play of brain exhibited right here we realize him as some of the thinkers of the 20 th century.

In this quantity, edited and annotated via Ralph Maud, we see Olson on the top of his powers and likewise at his such a lot human. approximately 2 hundred letters, chosen from a identified 3,000, display the wide variety of Olson''s pursuits and the intensity of his drawback for the longer term. Maud comprises letters to acquaintances and household, task and supply functions, letters of advice, and Black Mountain university enterprise letters, in addition to correspondence illuminating Olson''s poetics. As we learn in the course of the letters, which span the years from 1931, whilst Olson used to be an undergraduate, to his demise in 1970, a desirable portrait of this complicated poet and philosopher emerges

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It should send the belittlers of your poetic power scudding like yawls before the wind. With the strong local color of your first two books becoming the background, in the development of the personal, reflective poems of “Down East,” to a more universal expression of your emotions and philosophy, you reach maturity. The most striking 1931–1936 : part i : 11 growth is in your ability to describe the sea and its effect on you. In your earlier work you often failed—there are metaphors and similes in such poems as “The Gulf Stream” and “Ocean Liner” that grate on the mind like a dory bottom on a rocky beach.

It’s been Emerson, Melville, Whitman, Twain, Wolfe. When the best America’s got comes out, it bursts and spatters like black oil struck in the Oklahoma fields. By the time it’s harnessed and piped, controlled, the terrible fire, the lovely power, somehow, is gone. Perhaps it just has been that way and now we’re old enough to get a code on our spiritual as well as our social forces. I don’t 1931–1936 : part i : 13 know. I don’t know any more what I think about it than I do what I think about Wolfe or about myself.

A summer route! It’s first delivery today! Fernwood—over back of West Gloucester Station, Winniahdin and Little River. Long walks between stops but a good route for me for the summer, I think—outdoors, good leg training and I can work the route out myself instead of stepping into a regular’s place. My desk is next to Billy Maister’s. They gave me a new bag. Net pay down here learning the route. I punch the clock tomorrow for the first time at 7:30. 3 4 : part i : 1931–1936 And I go out alone! Oh, boy, what a time I’ll have trying to find these summer cottages and the people in ’em.

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