Olson and his Maximus Poems
in Contemporary Olson
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The Maximus Poems, like many long poems, is itself a culture, both an idiosyncratic simulacrum of a geo-political culture and an actual institutional culture devoted to exfoliating the work. The Maximus Poems as a whole, poem after poem cast like sorts between 1950 and 1969, becomes a compendium of Charles Olson's associative thought and activities in words. Olson's sense of the work's method gains propulsion during the six months he spent in Lerma, Campeche, Mexico as a self-anointed archaeologist. In the personal expedition to some Mayan sites and ruins, Olson began his dramatic enactment of method, the selection of specific shards zooming to sweeping generalization and overview that also animated The Maximus Poems. Olson's Maximus begins with a historical space but ends with time.

Editor: David Herd


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