Lectures and Interviews
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 de?ned “Muthologos” as “what is said about what is said,” which encompasses a breadth of discourse that would de?ne 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 ?nally 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 ?rst, 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.