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Death and Pejorative Vision in Charles Olson, Part 2

Death and Pejorative Vision in Charles Olson, Part 2

August 31, 2017

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It was not his manifesto only that made Charles Olson important, however. He earned his prominence both by his poetry and by his manifesto.

SO, I am going to say a few words in this blog series about some Olson poems—give a bit of introduction to his poetry, give you a taste of what he was like—before I start another series on the ZigZag Poetics of the new, the radically revolutionary poetry (“Wake up America! from snoozing all over fuddy duddy Robert Frost poetry—so I think they said back then) of the early Beat poets. We’re going to see what those cats said (I’m getting carried away here) about HOW they wrote poetry, about WHAT poetry is, and, for us today, what ZigZag poetry STILL IS today! But first—Charles Olson the poet.

Here goes. I’ll give plenty of quotes—don’t skip the long quotes—just to let you see—. But you can get these poems online somewhere or at your local library.

Be sure to follow The Scene: Radical Poetics from the ZigZag Edges by signing up in the box provided.

Paul Varner

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Death and Pejorative Vision in Charles Olson, Part 2

Death and Pejorative Vision in Charles Olson, Part 2

August 31, 2017

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It was not his manifesto only that made Charles Olson important, however. He earned his prominence both by his poetry and by his manifesto.

SO, I am going to say a few words in this blog series about some Olson poems—give a bit of introduction to his poetry, give you a taste of what he was like—before I start another series on the ZigZag Poetics of the new, the radically revolutionary poetry (“Wake up America! from snoozing all over fuddy duddy Robert Frost poetry—so I think they said back then) of the early Beat poets. We’re going to see what those cats said (I’m getting carried away here) about HOW they wrote poetry, about WHAT poetry is, and, for us today, what ZigZag poetry STILL IS today! But first—Charles Olson the poet.

Here goes. I’ll give plenty of quotes—don’t skip the long quotes—just to let you see—. But you can get these poems online somewhere or at your local library.

 

Be sure to follow The Scene: Radical Poetics from the ZigZag Edges by signing up in the box provided.

Paul Varner

About The Scene: Some Possible Goals for The Scene this Season

About The Scene: Some Possible Goals for The Scene for the 2017-2018 Season

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August 30, 2017

I want to develop a unique place on the web for poets, scholars, critics, and readers to dig radical poetry at its essence.

So, I want this blog to be The Scene, the online scene for such.

I want to promote the power, the greatness, the importance of such poetry and kindred writings.

While I hope The Scene will be about many scenes, at least the ones from the past, I especially want to promote the idea of the Beat Movement’s centrality to the new postmodern movements and everything that’s happening today. But more, perhaps, to help keep the Beat Movement alive and relevant because, you know, the Beat Movement is still going strong. It’s just evolved in many directions.

I’m a writer and I plan on blogging my books here and on my other literary blogs as I write them.

I want The Scene to be a collaborative project with my readers. Let’s work at this project together. Come follow The Scene on WordPress.

Paul Varner

 

Death and Pejorative Vision in Charles Olson, Part 1

Death and Pejorative Vision in Charles Olson, Part 1

August 29, 2017

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If you are a poet or reader of ZigZag poetry you really need to know about Charles Olson. If you don’t know much about Charles Olson then welcome to The Scene where you are going to find out why, yes why Charles Olson matters, why his work matters to you.

This, then, is the first part of a 5 part series on Charles Olson. I will be posting this series on Monday, Wednesday, Fridays.

Charles Olson has been a powerful voice among ZigZag poets since the beginning, and by beginning I mean those days after World War II when everything changed everywhere with the radical poets, writers, and artists of the Beat Movement which started it all and has kept it going with all the spinoffs from the 1950s right up to now.

Because, look, Olson was acknowledged as the intellectual inspiration of The Movement of movements: the Black Mountain poets, the New York poets, the San Francisco poets—in other words, The Beats. With poets like Denise Levertov and Robert Creeley. Robert Duncan once said, “For all of the poets who matter to me in my generation Charles Olson has been the Big Fire Source. One of the ones we had to study.” And Robert Creeley affirmed, “Charles Olson is central to any description of literary ‘climate’ dated 1960.”

Olson’s great work, the one always studied in greatest detail, is his essay “Projective Verse,” first published in an obscure little poetry magazine in 1950. But this complex, detailed essay became the heart of the Olson theory. British poet and critic Davie said Olson’s projective verse essay was “the most ambitious and intelligent attempt by a poet of today to take his bearings and to plot his future course.”

Be sure to follow The Scene: Radical Poetics from the ZigZag Edges by signing up in the box provided.

Paul Varner

About The Scene: Why Do I Want to Blog About Radical Poetics?

Why Do I Want to Blog About Radical Poetics?

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August 28, 2017

When I finished my book on the Historical Dictionary of the Beat Movement for Rowman & Littlefield there was, as expected, much that was left over from my notes and reading that I badly wanted to explore. Especially, I wanted to explore the actual poetics of Beat poetry. In particular, at that time, I wanted to explore, to examine closely, the poetics of the poets in the legendary anthology The New American Poetry, and other books of the New American franchise, such as The New American Poetics, all edited by Donald Allen.

And then, from the beginning of my life awareness I have been fascinated with the avant garde, experimental, radical postmodern poetics, its contexts and its aesthetic roots. For my part, The Scene is where I intend to find the mystery, the soul, the essence of radical poetics at the zig zag edges. Come join The Scene & hit the Follow button.

Paul Varner

Welcome to the Second Season of The Scene: Radical Poetics at the Zig Zag Edges.

About The Scene: Why Do I Want to Blog About Radical Poetics?

Hello.

The Scene: Radical Poetics at the ZigZag Edges began modestly last February with a series called Early Considerations which was my introduction to this blog that I think is like no other on the Web. As I begin the new 2017-2018 season I am re-posting the Early Considerations for new followers and for everyone else to remember what The Scene is all about. These Early Considerations are also in my Pages section above. I will run this series of Early Considerations on Mondays-Wednesdays-Fridays for awhile. On Tuesday-Thursdays I am beginning a new series titled New American Poetics based upon the classic anthology edited by Donald Allen that changed radical poetry, or as I am calling it, ZigZag poetry in America for once and all.

Ok. So, my name is Paul Varner. You can find my formal biography on the Biography page, but suffice it to say here that from my earliest days of adulthood I have lived a life of literature. I discovered real literature, as opposed to all the popular paperback Westerns, mysteries, and spy novels I read as a teenager, when I was stationed in the US Air Force near San Francisco in the crazy hippie days. Actually I discovered literature when I discovered the famous City Lights Bookstore and learned all about the Beat Movement, then the talk in my world of literature. I specifically discovered poetry that mattered to me when I read through many times Donald Allen’s famous New American Poetry anthology. Here was a kind of poetry I had never encountered in high school English courses. Years later I was to write a major scholarly book on the Beats, the Historical Dictionary of the Beat Movement, as well as several scholarly books on popular Westerns and serious literature of the American West. See My Amazon Authors Page here: http://www.amazon.com/Paul-Varner/e/B001JP42FE/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1408566082&sr=1-2-ent

I took the usual route of majoring in English as an undergraduate. In my first English class I met the girl I would fall in love with, Jeanine Baker, and with whom I would go through graduate school at the University of Tennessee, with both of us receiving our PhDs in English the same day. I left the crazy Beats and the Westerns behind for the pursuit of canonical literature, the best that has been thought and written in Western culture. Jeanine and I followed each other throughout our careers from one university to the other where we served as professors of English. Jeanine also entered administration and ultimately became Academic Vice President and later Provost at two fine private universities. Together we led lives dominated by our passion for literature.

I have written books on literature and taught many college courses in literature. And I certainly know that there are plenty of websites and plenty of blogs about literature, about reading books, and about favorite authors. Many of the blogs devote themselves to passionate reading of current novels, bestsellers and otherwise. Many discuss indie novels and Kindle-type favorites. Most are simply shortcuts for reading to college students. But I have seen very few online sites, or published books, that really devote themselves to innovative, experimental, avant garde, or whatever you would like to call radical poetry and literature. Few sites devote themselves to movements, schools, or poetic scenes. Thus The Scene: Radical Poetics at the Zig Zag Edges.

Once again, over the next few days I will be posting a series called About The Scene. There I will tell all about my plans for this exciting, radical new blog. Stay tuned.

Paul Varner

Profiles of the Early Beats: David McReynolds

August 4, 2017

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Profiles of the Early Beats: David McReynolds

Here is Seymour Krim’s profile of David McReynolds, in the anthology The Beats, first published in 1960. In later years McReynolds established himself more as a major socialist political activist than a writer of the Beat Generation.. Krim here published “Hipsters Unleashed’ in this anthology which is where you might go for information on the Beats’ fairly obscure political side. Here is Krim’s bio blurb written in 1960.

“McReynolds is 30, responsible, has a long socialist-pacifist background, was actually a Socialist Party candidate for Congress in 1958, is one of the few knowing bridges between tough politics and the beat mutiny. He’ll speak to an audience at the drop of a topic and writes a brainy straightforward prose. A good man to have on your side. Out of California.”

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Paul Varner