The Songs of Maximus: Song 1

By Charles Olson 1910–1970 Charles Olson

                     colored pictures
of all things to eat: dirty
postcards
               And words, words, words   
all over everything
                                              No eyes or ears left   
to do their own doings (all

invaded, appropriated, outraged, all senses

including the mind, that worker on what is
                                                                  And that other sense   
made to give even the most wretched, or any of us, wretched,
that consolation (greased
                                        lulled   
even the street-cars

song

Charles Olson, “The Songs of Maximus: ‘Song 1’ ” from The Maximus Poems, published by the University of California Press. Copyright © 1983 by Charles Olson. Reprinted with the permission of The Literary Estate of Charles Olson.

Source: The Maximus Poems (University of California Press, 1987)

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Poet Charles Olson 1910–1970

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

Poetic Terms Epic, Free Verse

Biography

Charles Olson was an innovative poet and essayist whose work influenced numerous other writers during the 1950s and 1960s. 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. Okay. Then the poem itself must, at all points, be a high energy-construct . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Poetic Terms Epic, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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