On this day in 1910, the great poet Charles Olson was born. He is one of my very favorite poets. He has a style that if very much like the beats but without all the all the nonsense that goes along with them. Even Allen Ginsberg tends to annoy me within the span of even a short poem. So Olson expanded on the works of the earliest of the modernist poets — writers I admire like William Carlos Williams and most especially Ezra Pound.
I most know Olson because of the poem “The Kingfishers” — you can read it at Poetry Foundation. But Olson’s greatest work is probably The Maximus Poems. It is his attempt to channel Pound — a man he owed much to artistically and nothing to politically. It was explicitly following The Cantos. But if you prefer, it is also something like Williams’ Paterson.
Shockingly, there is actually some video of Olson reading. Here is “Maximus To Gloucester, Letter 27 (withheld)”:
Happy birthday Charles Olson!