The Songs of Maximus: Song 1

	                     colored pictures
of all things to eat: dirty
               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

Charles Olson's homepage at Electronic Poetry Center

Charles Olson at the Academy of American Poets

Charles Olson at Poetry Foundation

From 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 form, what is the "old" base of the non-projective. (1) the kinetics of the thing. 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 and, at all points, an energy-discharge. So: how is the poet to accomplish same energy, how is he, what is the process by which a poet gets in, at all points energy at least the equivalent energy which propelled him in the first place, yet an energy which is peculiar to verse alone and which will be, obviously, different from the energy which the reader, because he is a third term, will take away? This is the problem which any poet who departs from closed form is specially confronted by. And it involves a whole series of but new recognitions. From the moment he ventures into FIELD COMPOSITION—puts himself in the open—he can go by no track other than the one the poem under hand declares, for itself. Thus he has to behave, and be, instant by instant, aware of some several forces just now beginning to be examined. (It is much more, for example, this push, than simply such a one as Pound put, so wisely, to get us started: "the musical phrase," go by it, boys rather than by, the metronome.)

"Maximus to Gloucester, Letter 27 [withheld]"

Charles Olson