Friday, December 09, 2005


The Olson event last Saturday was very successful, considering how many people, including myself, were chomping at the bit to add comments, ask questions, etc.

It seems to me the points of views around comments in subtle ways were divided into two or three kinds: those by scholars or academicians interested in research projects generated by Olson. A smaller number of us had thoughts about him as poets, how as a poet Olson had affected us. Susan Howe started that line of discussion by pointing to Call Me Ishmael's importance to her. Since Call Me Ishmael had a crucial impact on me as a poet, critic and translator also, I joined in the argument, saying that Ishmael led me also to Melville's Journals of Istanbul (Constantinople) and also presented a new way of writing about another writer who was important to one's work.

Susan and I continued our conversation outside during the break, arguing how the "ungrammatical" awakwardness of Olson's prose represented a juncture in American writing where prose jumped into poetry -in our views (if I am not misrepresenting Susan's views) Olson's prose -as writing- was at least as important as his poetry.

1 comment:

Scott Glassman said...

Michael, Ammiel,

It's fantastic, a blog solely devoted to Olson! The intensity of Olson's reading, voice like a firehose propelling out utterances from a soul fire, a vision ahead of itself, was essential in bringing me further into his work and what he was trying to accomplish. Hearing him went a long way toward deepening my understanding of his aesthetic, and I highly recommend anyone interested in Olson to go to the PennSound recordings for this reason. Entranced as I was by his voice, I felt compelled to cut it up and incorporate some of it with music (a transmission device for the Ipod/2005 era?)-- with the advancement of technology, "commoners" such as myself can now play a critical role in helping poets' actual voices survive, in new mediums and referential contexts. Perhaps it is even our responsibility?? The podcast can be found at 30 days for anyone who's interested. The reading I used was "I, Maximus". Thanks again for this blog!!