It’s a good time to be a poet,
although the pay is shitty.
Charles Olson live @ the Kitchen Table
Below are some great videos of Mr. Maximus Charles Olson reading two of his wonderful poems. Watching these kitchen-made movies really lets you understand how Olson cast such a big light over the workings of the New American Poetry when I was getting into that world. Shy. Unsure. I must have read Olson's "Projective Verse" essay 15 times trying to figure out exactly what his complicated prose was talking about. (It's actually quite simple, I discovered, but I wouldn't trade that journey for an Idiot's Guide.) Barney Childs said one day in class, "Well, Byrd has a good ear. He knows how to do it. He just has to find something to say." Ha. I remember another home movie that I saw in Tucson must have been 1964. It was after a Creeley reading and there was a party up in the hills. The moon and the stars. Lots of booze and talk about poetry. Dreamy. I walked into one room and Creeley was showing a movie of him and Olson in Gloucester. They were walking down a road, hands in their pockets, talking, Creeley looking up to see this big man, his friend. Man, I thought, this is where I want to be. Thanks to Ron Silliman's blog for posting the videos, and to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute archives which is where I copped the photograph, one of my favorites.