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Sunday February 28, 2010 in Books
Charles Olson’s insistence that the public value of any articulation is inseparable from the particulars of the time and place of its origins resulted in the proprioceptive methodology of his composition—in his speech and his writing, in both poetry and prose. Olson did not “lecture”—he “talked.” His encyclopedic knowledge of the subjects that interested him engaged in a manner always as surprising to himself as to his listeners. This element of discovery was to him a true measure of what is authentic in language, and it exhibits itself most in the impromptu exchanges of which Muthologos is mainly composed. Olson once deﬁned “Muthologos” as “what is said about what is said,” which encompasses a breadth of discourse that would deﬁne the near and far range of where the poet’s mind went in a lifetime’s intent to go places. In this new compilation of Charles Olson’s transcribed lectures and interviews, we ﬁnally get all of what is preserved of a life of talk, allowing Muthologos to stand, along with The Maximus Poems, Collected Poems, Collected Prose and Selected Letters as one of the “standard texts” of this great poet’s oeuvre.
Ralph Maud’s second edition of Muthologos, some thirty years after George Butterick’s ﬁrst, adds several new items: “At Goddard College, April 1962”; a second Vancouver 1963 discussion, “Duende, Muse, and Angel”; a short addition to the “BBC Interview”; a second “On Black Mountain”; and a further hour of Olson’s conversation with Herb Kenny. In addition, all the available tapes of these talks and interviews have been listened to again, and many of their previous transcription errors have been corrected. Textual notes to each piece identify these corrections, and also reveal the provenance of the tapes and the particular way in which each transcription was created.
ISBN 13: 9780889226395 | ISBN 10: 889226393
6 W x 9 H x 4 D inches | 496 pages
$39.95 CAN / $39.95 US
Backlist | Non-Fiction | Bisac: LIT014000
QUOTES OF NOTE
"Maud depicts [Olson] functioning remarkably as a public poet, a poet thinking on his feet, and being absolutely delightful."
— Pacific Rim Review of Books
"This new edition of Muthologos reiterates the intensity of attention that Olson brought to his final six years in the public performance of his immense poetic archaeology. These talks and interviews document the processual nature and intellectual hunger that situate his poetic imagination not only in the poem but in the range of perception that can be talked about "with some life." When I heard him talk about his poem "Place; & Names" at UBC in 1963, the poem as discourse for place and history provided a crucial tap for my own sense of poetry’s possibility. His Beloit lectures on "The Dogmatic Nature of Experience" in 1968 coalesce and amplify his most singular pedagogy, "Projective Verse," as the cultural shape shifter it has been. By re-inserting, and supplementing, the tape-recorded era of Olson’s poetic life, Ralph Maud continues to sustain this material as consequential and amazing."
— Fred Wah
About the ContributorsCharles Olson
Charles Olson (1910–1970) was a giant of a man in physical stature, critical and intellectual range, and imaginative power. His masterwork, The Maximus Poems, stands beside Ezra Pound’s The Cantos as one of the two great American long poems of the twentieth century – indeed, it can be seen as a democratic and relativist response to Pound’s absolutist manifesto. Olson’s boundless energy, penetrating curiosity, and limitless dedication to his craft made him and his work the syncretic centre of the evolving discourse of mid-twentieth century poetics in English.Ralph Maud
Ralph Maud is the author of Charles Olson Reading (1996) and the editor of The Selected Letters of Charles Olson (2000.) He has edited much of Dylan Thomas’s work, including The Notebook Poems 1930–1934 and The Broadcasts, and is co-editor, with Walford Davies, of Dylan Thomas: The Collected Poems, 1934–1953 and Under Milk Wood. Maud is also the editor of The Salish People: Volumes I, II, III & IV by pioneer ethnographer Charles Hill-Tout. In addition, he has done extensive work on the translation collaboration between Henry W. Tate and Franz Boas, including the book, Transmission Difficulties: Franz Boas and Tsimshian Mythology.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.