Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Thirty five years have passed since the death of Charles Olson in 1970. While all the signs were there when he died, the country he lived in is almost unrecognizable: decades of covert wars, domestic and international imprisonment on a massive scale, and the flexing of imperial muscle that now finds the U.S. military in Iraq reveal that the “pejorocracy” Olson warned of is well entrenched. As almost all forms of knowledge and culture have become administered and poetry has become a profession, the questions Olson raised about the world and the role of poetry and knowledge in it are more pointed than ever.

The first major public event emerging from this project will take place on:

December 3, 2005, from 12 to 6:30 at the
Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery in New York City
131 East 10th st.

There will be two components to the event; an open symposium held during the day followed by the New York premiere of Henry Ferrini’s film-in-progress:

Poet and the City: Charles Olson and the Persistance of Place, with Amiri Baraka, Diane di Prima, John Malkovich, and many others. The screening will be accompanied with performances by David Amram, Ed Sanders, Anne Waldman, and others to be announced, followed by a reception.

Our idea is to keep the structure of the symposium as open as possible: we would like to see discussion form according to interests and affinities in the format of a town meeting.

The structural configuration of the day is still evolving and we welcome any ideas.

We have opened a blog ( to create a forum prior to the symposium and use material posted there as an entryway into the topics of the day, including:

First Fact: SPACE
Polis is eyes
The special view of history
The initiation of another kind of nation

This is not a call for papers, keynote speakers and panels, but a space for ideas in action in order to articulate our own histories and places within it. Please send material, and/or inquiries addressed to either Michael Kelleher or Ammiel Alcalay at:

There is no need to register but please let us know if you plan to attend.

The event is open to the public: admission is $8; students and seniors $7; members $5 or free.

We invite neophytes, initiates, the immersed and the curious, students and teachers, come one and all, no one will be turned away.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing this.
--Jonathan Penton