Olson, Charles

Olson, Charles, 1910–70, American critic and poet, b. Worcester, Mass., grad. Harvard (B.A., 1932; M.A., 1933). His literary reputation was established with Call Me Ishmael (1947), a study of the influence of Shakespeare and other writers on Melville's Moby-Dick. Later he became noted as a poet. Olson wrote what he called “projective,” or open, verse, a perception-based approach to poetry in which form is derived from content and the poem projects energy from the world that led to its creation to the reader. His works include The Maximus Poems (1960–75, unfinished), Casual Mythology (1969), and Poetry and Truth (1971). Olson taught at Black Mountain College (1948–56) and was rector (1951–56) there.

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