Max Lesser uncovers the unintended legacy of Charles Olson. First, some simplicities that a man learns, if he works in OPEN or what can also be called COMPOSITION BY FIELD, as opposed to inherited line, stanza, over-all . FROM CHARLES OLSON’S “PROJECTIVE VERSE”. (1) A poem is energy transferred from where the poet got it (he will have some several causations), by way.

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And his repeated association of words that overlap both semantically and sonically speaks to his ability to attune his ear to the mythopoeic nature of syllables. Here, the ideas and inventions of American icons such as John Dewey and Buckminster Fuller would merge with the teachings of exiled European intellectuals and artists, including Albert Einstein, Walter Gropius, and Josef Albers.

If any poem epitomizes the nuts and bolts of projective verse, this is it. Why does his surname lack the resonance of Cage and Ginsberg?

Olson intends projective verse to enact a form of ego death through self-objectification. Thank you for signing up!

Olson clearly adheres to the mechanics of projective verse, but can he overcome his self? If so, you may be embarrassed to admit it.

Projective Verse | essay by Olson |

To take advantage of all LARB has to offer, please create an account or log in before joining This principlethen, leads to a specific poetic process: Or so it got phrased by one, R. But can projective poems actually eliminate the poet-as-subject? His broad use of white space attests to his attention to breath, which informs the length of his lines with multiple indentations.

By Min Hyoung Song. It is much chharles, for example, this push, than simply such a one as Pound put, so wisely, to get us started: He encourages this overcoming of the poet-as-subjectwhat Keats derides in Wordsworth as Egotistical Sublime. There is less than a week left to support our matching grant fund drive! North Carolina, in the depths of the Great Depression, where a number of faculty members recently dismissed from Rollins College for refusing to sign a loyalty pledge founded the legendary Black Mountain College.


Letter to the Editor: That reputation, though unfortunate, may be well deserved. This appears to be an acknowledged fact among contemporary practitioners of projective verse. But what ever happened to the legacy of Charles Olson? Where does one start? There it is, brothers, sitting there, for USE. A partial list of Black Mountain teachers and students will suffice to indicate its central role in 20th-century American culture: Olxon, the success of his poetic principle may not have lead to the world that he wanted to live in, one in which the poet escapes the confines of his ego through the rigors of contemplating objects and ideas.

In our culture, too many regard poetry, and especially the poetry of the last century, as having all the real-world utility of underwater ccharles. The success of his ideas remains manifest to anyone who cares about the history of postwar American poetry.

Yet the reader is forced to marvel at the voice that has built these meaningful links. Olson asserts that in order to ensure projctive forward propulsion, a poet must not remain fixed upon a single perception for long, avoiding excessive description, but rather constantly shift through various modes of perception.

A poem is energy transferred from where the poet got it he will have some several causationsby way projectiive the prljective itself to, pprojective the way over to, the reader. It stems from his central project: And it involves a whole series of but new recognitions. On the Collected Works of Robert Duncan.


Creeley, and it makes absolute sense to me, with this possible corollary, that right form, in any given poem, is the only and exclusively possible extension chafles content under hand. The sibilance of the words associated in the first line reflects a semantic semblance: From Bauhaus to Black Mountain: In Ikebanathe work itself the bouquet consists almost entirely of objects found in nature.


Can Olson himself abide by his own poetic principles, overcoming his Egotistical Sublime? Grasped by What We Cannot Grasp: This is the problem which any poet who departs from closed form is specially confronted by.

Projective Verse

Your tax-deductible donation made to LARB by Any exposition of a perceived object, when made well, draws attention to the power of the perceiving subject. You’ll then be redirected back to LARB. When a poetic self strives for the maximal, when it strives for an expansion of its perceptual horizons, when chwrles frees itself from the shackles of inherited form — how could it not attest to its own particular capacities and energies, to the power of its own senses, its own voice?

Now 3 the process of the thing, how the principle can be made so to shape the energies that the form is accomplished. The Elemental Poems of Dan Gerber. What does one mean by 20th-century American poetry? Jorie Graham, a poet who was influenced by Olson, incorporates his method in a way that ultimately draws attention to the speaker.

By submitting this form, you are granting: A Search in Obedience: Here again, projective verse proves limited in its capacity to eliminate the subject — precisely because its power draws attention to the fact that objects of perception are perceived by a singular head and a singular heart, precisely because these perceptions are communicated in a chatles that pulsates with the music of a singular breath. Any human action, from physical construction to constructing verse, involves breath.

The more evocative the bouquet, the more the subject imbues her found objects with her character.