The Songs of Maximus: Song 2

By Charles Olson 1910–1970 Charles Olson
all
wrong
            And I am asked—ask myself (I, too, covered   
with the gurry of it) where
shall we go from here, what can we do
when even the public conveyances
sing?
          how can we go anywhere,
even cross-town
                         how get out of anywhere (the bodies   
all buried
in shallow graves?

Charles Olson, “The Songs of Maximus: ‘Song 2’ ” 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 Activities, Travels & Journeys, 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 Activities, Travels & Journeys, 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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