Sunday, March 21, 2010

Charles Olson Centenary Celebration


As for me, I'm a third of the way through the massive Maximus Poems and not likely to return to it anytime soon. The energy spent on it didn't always pan out for me. Anybody have other Olson I should know? I've read several volumes of the Creeley-Olson correspondence, which have been much more edifying than Olson's poetry, I'm sorry to say. But it is his centenary, and he should be centenarianized. I just don't cotton to his stuff much, myself.
Charles Olson was a complicated man who wrote complicated poetry.
 The Worcester native was also a big man — 6 feet 8 inches — who still casts quite a shadow and presence in 2010, his centennial year. A “Charles Olson Centenary Celebration” being held in Worcester this week will draw a number of guest poets and scholars, and include performances, workshops, a symposium, and even the screening of a film about Olson’s life, “Polis Is This,” narrated by John Malkovich. 
“It’s turning into quite a notable event,” said Mark Wagner, program chairman and a member of the Worcester County Poetry Association, one of the centenary sponsors. “It’s been a ton of work, but at the same time there’s a real tribe of ‘Olson-ites’ who are going to come together.” 
Events this week are scheduled to include “Project Verse” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, a reading at Clark University led by students at Worcester-area colleges; a talk and poetry reading at WPI Thursday by nationally renowned poet Anne Waldman; and symposium discussions Friday and Saturday on an array of topics ranging from “Olson’s Politics/Poetics of Transnational Utopia” to “Charles Olson and The Blackstone Canal.” More.

The Worcester County Poetry Association sponsors the Olson Centenary, and you can find the relevant pages here. Many poets are reading and panelling here, and it's no doubt worth your time.

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