A Charles Olson Reader
CHARLES OLSON was born in 1910 in Worcester, Massachusetts and grew up there, spending summers in Gloucester, a seaport north of Boston. He studied at Harvard, and taught there for a time, before working for the Roosevelt government during the war. In 1948 he took a post at Black Mountain College, North Carolina, where as rector from 1951 to 1956 he was instrumental in attracting a circle of creative artists to the college. In 1958 he returned to live in Gloucester, the setting of the Maximus Poems (1960-68). His important books include his essay ‘Projective Verse’ (1950), which influenced poets such as Robert Duncan, Denise Levertov and Robert Creeley, In Cold Hell, In Thicket (1953), and his critical work Call Me Ishmael (1947). Charles Olson died in 1970.
RALPH MAUD had his early schooling in Yorkshire. After study at Harvard, he spent his first working years in Buffalo, where he published an edition of The Notebooks of Dylan Thomas. His work on Thomas includes Entrances to Dylan Thomas’ Poetry (1963), the bibliography Dylan Thomas in Print (1970) and new editions with Walford Davies of Thomas’s Collected Poems (1988) and Under Milk Wood (1995).
Ralph Maud was a colleague of Charles Olson’s at the State University of New York at Buffalo for two years. He has taken on the task of assembling a replica of Olson’s library in anticipation of restoring Olson’s home at 28 Fort Square, Gloucester, Massachusetts as a research centre for Olson studies. He is the author of Charles Olson’s Reading: A Biography (1996) and, as Emeritus Professor of English at Simon Fraser University and Associate of the Institute of Humanities there, has edited the Selected Letters of Charles Olson (2000).