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 CollegeBlack Mountain College,
former coeducational liberal arts college at Black Mountain, N.C., near Asheville. Founded (1933) by John Rice, also the school's first rector (1933–40), on the progressive education principles of John Dewey, it placed a strong emphasis on the arts.
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 (1948–56) and was rector (1951–56) there.

Olson, Charles (John)

(1910–70) poet, writer; born in Worcester, Mass. He studied at Yale, Harvard, and Wesleyan (B.A. 1932; M.A. 1933). He taught at several institutions, including Harvard (1936–39), and, as rector and teacher, at Black Mountain College, N.C. (1948–56). Long based in Gloucester, Mass., he is noted for his difficult experimental poetry, especially the Maximus series (1953–68), which used what he called "projective verse."
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See Olson, Charles Olson & Ezra Pound: An Encounter at St.