- January 18, 2021
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There is no question, for example, that Eliot’s line, from “Prufrock” on down, has speech-force, is “dramatic”, is, in fact, one of the most notable lines since Dryden. Charles Olson’s anti-traditional poetic stance, as it is expressed in the seminal essay “Projective Verse,” written in 1950, profoundly influenced poetry of the mid-twentieth century and beyond, yet his greater legacy may be the respect for the natural world and its processes that he so vehemently fought to foster and preserve. With this warning, to those who would try: to step back here to this place of the elements and minims of language, is to engage speech where it is least careless— and least logical. Widely reprinted, it is best read in Charles Olson, Human Universe and Other Essays, ed. If I hammer, if I recall in, and keep calling in, the breath, the breathing as distinguished from the hearing, it is for cause, it is to insist upon a part that breath plays in verse which has not (due, I think, to the smothering of the power of the line by too set a concept of foot) has not been sufficiently observed or practiced, but which has to be if verse is to advance to its proper force and place in the day, now, ahead. In this, he called for a poetry of "open field" composition to replace traditional closed poetic forms with an improvised form that should reflect exactly the content of the poem. Olson's manifesto, Projective Verse, published in 1950, was quoted extensively in William Carlos Williams's Autobiography (1951). Then the poem itself must, at all points, be a high energy-construct and, at all points, an energy-discharge. In his influential essay on projective (or open) verse, Olson asserts that "a poem is energy transferred from where the poet got it (he will have some several causations), by way of the poem itself to, all the way over to, the reader. The Collected Poems of Charles Olson (1987) Prose. Charles Olson’s crucial role has been to bring writers back to a consideration of the art. In “Projective Verse”, he proposed a poetry by field composition. O western wynd, when wilt thou blowAnd the small rain down shall rainO Christ that my love were in my armsAnd I in my bed again. In any given instance, because there is a choice of words, the choice, if a man is in there, will be, spontaneously, the obedience of his ear to the syllables. I say the syllable, king, and that it is spontaneous, this way: the ear, the ear which has collected, which has listened, the ear, which is so close to the mind that it is the mind’s, that it has the mind’s speed…. Charles Olson, Projective Verse (1959). It is time we picked the fruits of the experiments of Cummings, Pound, Williams, each of whom has, after his way, already used the machine as a scoring to his composing, as a script to its vocalization. And together, these two, the syllable and the line, they make a poem, they make that thing, the—what shall we call it, the Boss of all, the “Single Intelligence.” And the line comes (I swear it) from the breath, from the breathing of the man who writes, at the moment that he writes, and thus is, it is here that, the daily work, the WORK, gets in, for only he, the man who writes, can declare, at every moment, the line its metric and its ending— where its breathing, shall come to, termination. Yet O.M. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Clarifying difficult poetry, reading Charles Olson. Rhythm is Image: Charles Olson and Jackson Pollock 4. And its excuse, its usableness, in practice. . Everything leans on action, on the … the poem itself must, at all points, be a high energy-construct and, at all points, an energy-discharge. The two halves are:the HEAD, by way of the EAR, to the SYLLABLE the HEART, by way of the BREATH, to the LINE. Olson emphasized the… World War II. In his influential essay on projective (or open) verse, Olson asserts that "a poem is energy transferred from where the poet got it (he will have some several causations), by way of the poem itself to, all the way over to, the reader. It is by their syllables that words juxtapose in beauty, by these particles of sound as clearly as by the sense of the words which they compose. In the first essay, poet Sam Cha offers a personal reflection on Olson’s ideas, as well as those of language poet Lyn Hejinian. %��������� It is in this sense that the projective act, which is the artist’s act in the larger field of objects, leads to dimensions larger than the man. The irony is, from the machine has come one gain not yet sufficiently observed or used, but which leads directly on toward projective verse and its consequences. (The stance involves, for example, a change beyond, and larger than, the technical, and may, the way things look, lead to new poetics and to new concepts from which some sort of drama, say, or of epic, perhaps, may emerge.). Charles Olson was an innovative poet and essayist whose work influenced numerous other writers during the 1950s and 1960s. Its mere influ-ence makes it an important document. Call Me Ishmael (1947) Projective Verse (1950) The Mayan Letters (1953) A Bibliography on America for Ed Dorn (1964) Human Universe and Other Essays (1965) Selected Writings (1966) Casual Mythology (1969) The … Do not tenses, must they not also be kicked around anew, in order that time, that other governing absolute, may be kept, as must the space-tensions of a poem, immediate, contemporary to the acting-on-you of the poem? But what I want to emphasize here, by this emphasis on the typewriter as the personal and instantaneous recorder of the poets work, is the already projective nature of verse as the sons of Pound and Williams are practicing it. This is the problem which any poet who departs from closed form is specially confronted by. Observe him, when he takes advantage of the machine’s multiple margins, to juxtapose: “Sd he:to dream takes no effortto think is easyto act is more difficult, but for a man to act after he has taken thought, this!is the most difficult thing of all”. (2) is the principle, the law which presides conspicuously over the composition, and, when obeyed, is the reason why a projective poem can come into being. Call Me Ishmael (1947) Projective Verse (1950) The Mayan Letters (1953) A Bibliography on America for Ed Dorn (1964) Human Universe and Other Essays (1965) Selected Writings (1966) Casual Mythology (1969) The Special View of History (1970) Additional Prose (1974) (The syllable is one way to distinguish the original success of blank verse, and its falling off, with Milton.). FROM CHARLES OLSON’S “PROJECTIVE VERSE”. First, some simplicities that a man learns, if he works in OPEN or what can also be called COMPOSITION BY FIELD, as opposed to inherited line, stanza, over-all . For a man is himself an object, whatever he may take to be his advantages, the more likely to recognize himself as such the greater his advantages, particularly at that moment that he achieves an humilitas sufficient to make him of use. "Verse now, 1950," wrote Charles Olson in his famous essay, "Projective Verse," "if it is to be of essential use, must, I take it, catch up and put into itself certain laws and possibilities of the breath, of the breathing of the man who writes as well as of his listenings." FROM CHARLES OLSON’S “PROJECTIVE VERSE”. FROM CHARLES OLSON’S “PROJECTIVE VERSE”. Charles Olson, Projective Verse (Totem Press, New York, c.1959), collected in Human Universe (1965) and in Collected Prose (1997); see also Perloff (Marjorie), 'Charles Olson and the "Inferior Predecessors": "Projective Verse" Revisited', ELH, 40 (1973), 285-306; and Hatlen (Burton), 'Pound's Pisan Cantos and the Origins of Projective Verse', in Dennis (Helen), Ezra Pound and Poetic … The NON-Projective (or what a French critic calls “closed” verse, that verse which print bred and which is pretty much what we have had, in English & American, and have still got, despite the work of Pound & Williams: Charles Olson was an innovative poet and essayist whose work influenced numerous other writers during the 1950s and 1960s. Charles Olson’s hugely influential essay-manifesto ‘Projective Verse’ is usually understood as proposing a close - and a necessary—link between poetry and body. Analysis of Charles Olson’s Poems By Nasrullah Mambrol on July 15, 2020 • ( 1). Let me just throw in this. This is not easy. Each of these lines is a progressing of both meaning and the breathing forward, and then a backing up, without a progress or any kind of movement outside the unit of time local to the idea. I am interested in how through innovation and experimentation various women writers have used open field and bodily energy as defined by Charles Olson’s Projective Verse essay.In particular I will examine how women writers have challenged gender as a construction using innovation and open field poetics, re-writing the feminine in terms of traditionally masculine forms and subject matters. And I think it can be boiled down to one statement (first pounded into my head by Edward Dahlberg): ONE PERCEPTION MUST IMMEDIATELY AND DIRECTLY LEAD TO A FURTHER PERCEPTION. It has excellently done itself to death, even though we are all caught in its dying. And the threshing floor for the dance? It could even be argued (and I say this carefully, as I have said all things about the non-projective, having considered how each of us must save himself after his own fashion and how much, for that matter, each of us owes to the non-projective, and will continue to owe, as both go alongside each other) but it could be argued that it is because Eliot has stayed inside the non-projective that he fails as a dramatist— that his root is mind alone, and a scholastic mind at that (no high intelletto despite his apparent clarities)— and that, in his listenings he has stayed there where the ear and the mind are, has only gone from his fine ear outward rather than, as I say a projective poet will, down through the workings of his own throat to that place where breath comes from, where breath has its beginnings, where drama has come from, where, the coincidence is, all act springs. For from the root out, from all over the place, the syllable comes, the figures of, the dance. Figure and Field: Olson’s Maximus and Pollock’s Autumn Rhythm 5. (1) the kinetics of the thing. But an analysis of how far a new poet can stretch the very conventions on which communication by language rests, is too big for these notes, which are meant, I hope it is obvious, merely to get things started. (The arduity Olson pages are only about The Maximus Poems and Projective Verse as I'm not sufficiently au fait with the rest of his work.). Projective Verse is an essay written by Charles Olson, an American poet, in 1950.1 It was seen as an important reference point for American and British poets alike throughout the 1960s and 1970s. What seems to me a more valid formulation for present use is “objectism,” a word to be taken to stand for the kind of relation of man to experience which a poet might state as the necessity of a line or a work to be as wood is, to be as clean as wood is as it issues from the hand of nature, to be shaped as wood can be when a man has had his hand to it. “Is” comes from the Aryan root, as, to breathe. It is this: FORM IS NEVER MORE THAN AN EXTENSION OF CONTENT. Pound had demanded it in the name of culture, of writing with professional competence, Olson demands it in the name of the stance toward reality, of writing with maximum energy. Charles Olson (1910-1970) was a giant of a man in physical stature, critical and intellectual range, and imaginative power. Charles Olson’s hugely influential essay-manifesto ‘Projective Verse’ is usually understood as proposing a close - and a necessary—link between poetry and body. For the breath has a double meaning which latin had not yet lost. What strikes me in him is the singleness of the push to the nominative, his push along that one arc of freshness, the attempt to get back to word as handle. For there is a whole flock of rhetorical devices which have now to be brought under a new bead, now that we sight with the line. The NON-Projective. Language is one of his proudest acts. It is the advantage of the typewriter that, due to its rigidity and its space precisions, it can, for a poet, indicate exactly the breath, the pauses, the suspensions even of syllables, the juxtapositions even of parts of phrases, which he intends. Sound is a dimension he has extended. Charles Olson’s Projective Verse. In "Projective Verse" he quoted as a central thesis of his work Creeley's "Form is never more than an extension of content." It had a dying fall,o, it came over my ear like the sweet soundthat breathes upon a bank of violets,stealing and giving odour. But it is more than a call for a kind of versification: it is a manifesto of an attitude toward reality. And when a poet rests in these as they are in himself (in his physiology, if you like, but the life in him, for all that) then he, if he chooses to speak from these roots, works in that area where nature has given him size, projective size. Already they are composing as though verse was to have the reading its writing involved, as though not the eye but the ear was to be its measurer, as though the intervals of its composition could be so carefully put down as to be precisely the intervals of its registration. Charles Olson died in 1970. (Or so it got phrased by one, R. Creeley, and it makes absolute sense to me, with this possible corollary, that right form, in any given poem, is the only and exclusively possible extension of content under hand.) Is it anything but the LINE? 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