Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Charles John Olson

Here in Gloucester a foot or so of snow covers the ground. Power has now been restored to most, if not all, of Cape Ann.

Earlier this evening I read "An Ode on Nativity" & conjured Olson's Worcester in my Gloucester kitchen. I also read Donald Wellman & Kenneth Warren's essays on Olson in Warren's House Organ & found myself imagining a host of panel discussions that have not yet happened & few that for temporal & spatial reasons could not happen. Later this evening a cast of characters -- I will not be among them -- will read Olson poems to each other at the Rhumbline, a bar across from Gloucester depot.

G'night.
skål & sláinte,
James Cook

Friday, October 8, 2010

Breaking Olson 100 News

OLSON’S DOGTOWN: AN INTRODUCTORY WALK & ONSITE READING

led by Jonathan Skinner (poet and Olson scholar, editor of ecopoetics)
2:30 - 5 pm, Friday 8 October 2010

Walk from Gravelly Hill to Dogtown Square and back, with some side explorations. Readings of
selected passages from Charles Olson’s The Maximus Poems at key Dogtown sites.

Meet at 2:30 pm at The Bookstore of Gloucester, 61 Main St.

Bring decent walking shoes and your favorite Olson Dogtown poems (if you wish). The walk
leader will have a copy of The Maximus Poems on hand to read from.

Free and open to the public. Questions? Call 207‐449‐7080

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday Night: Peter Anastas reads Peter Anastas & David Rich reads Jonathan Bayliss

Last night six poets -- Rufus Collinson, David Rich, Amanda Cook, Schuyler Hoffman, Kent Bowker, and James Cook -- gave the first reading in the new Gloucester Writers Center. Hoffman, the evening's host, remarked upon the range of the evening's work: translations from Scots Gaelic and neobaroque Spanish, a blogger's daybook, lyrics on Linda Crane and the San Francisco Renaissance, meditative free verse, ekphrastic lyric, and seriocomic hallucinatory drama.

Tonight the words of Olson's friends Peter Anastas and Jonathan Bayliss will be celebrated at the Sawyer Free Library at 7 p.m. Map here.

See you tonight.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Olson 100 events this weekend

Hello All,

I just wanted to remind you of three important events this coming
weekend. PLEASE TELL AS MANY OF YOUR FRIENDS AS YOU CAN ABOUT THESE
EVENTS!

On Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at the Ellery House on 245 Washington
Street, State Senator Bruce Tarr will present a proclamation from Gov.
Duval Patrick naming October Arts and Humanities month. This event
coincides with the Charles Olson Centennial. I will be there and it
would be great to have some other members of the Olson Society present.
You will also have a chance to view the installations of Olson-inspired
art by painter Susan Erony and photographer Paul Cary Goldberg, who also
designed the Olson Centennial poster.

At 4 p.m. at the Cape Ann Museum, on 27 Pleasant Street, there will
be a reading, reception and book signing for Dave Rich's new book,
"Charles Olson: Letters Home," a collection of letters from Olson to
various Gloucester residents. I've seen the book and it is marvelous.

At 7 p.m. Ammiel Alcalay will read from his new novel "Islanders" at
the Bookstore of Gloucester, 61 Main Street. This is an extraordinary
novel and I hope as many of us as possible can turn out to support
Ammiel, who has been an incredible help to us in planning and organizing
the Olson Centennial.

Peter

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Maximus Walk Route

On Sunday, October 10 at 11 a.m. meet us at the Cape Ann Museum (27 Pleasant Street) in Gloucester for a peripatetic reading of poems by Charles Olson.


View Larger Map

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Charles Olson Centennial Opens with Five Nights of Readings

Charles Olson Centennial Opens with Five Nights of Readings

Gloucester’s Charles Olson Centennial Week, October 3-10, will open with five evenings of readings at three separate locations. Each reading begins at 7 p.m. They are free and open to the public. The schedule is as follows:

On Sunday, October 3, poet, novelist and CUNY Graduate Center professor Ammiel Alcalay will read from and sign copies of his recently published novel “Islanders,” at the Bookstore of Gloucester, 61 Main Street. Alcalay grew up as a summer resident of Rocky Neck in the 1950s and early 60s, with Charles Olson as a close friend of his parents, painter Albert Alcalay and his wife Vera. He has written extensively about Olson and his childhood memories of Gloucester.

Of his novel “Islanders,” published by City Lights Books, the LA Times wrote: “Atlantic islands, Northeastern U.S. fishing towns, the last years of the Vietnam War: Ammiel Alcalay flies over this time and these places. .. Memories emerge, and from the memories, stories. The placement of details on the pages is stunningly simple.”

On Monday October 4, a group of local poets calling themselves "The Usual Suspects,” will read from their own work at the Gloucester Writers Center, 126 East Main Street. Readers will include James and Amanda Cook, Kent Bowker, Schuyler Hoffman and other local talents. These writers have been inspired by the work of Charles Olson and the school of writing which formed in the 1960s called “The New American Writing,” of which Olson was a major influence. They will read from their work and discuss it with participants. Parking for the Gloucester Writers Center is across the street in the East Gloucester Marina.

On Tuesday, October 5, Gloucester natives Peter Anastas and David Rich will read fiction and non-fiction inspired by Charles Olson at the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library. Anastas will read from a recently completed memoir, “From Gloucester Out,” and his forthcoming novel, “Decline of Fishes,” also set in Gloucester. Rich will read from the fiction of the late Gloucester playwright and novelist Jonathan Bayliss, including excerpts from Bayliss’ posthumous novel “Gloucestermas,” due for publication this fall.

On Wednesday October 6, the Gloucester Writers Center, located at the former home of poet Vincent Ferrini, will host a second evening of readings featuring works by Olson's friends and fellow poets, Vincent Ferrini and Linda Crane. A highlight of the evening will be the presentation of unpublished work by Crane. Readers will include Sarah Stotzer, Joanna Bowker, Jo-Ann Castano, Carol Weston, Peter Anastas, Dorothy Nelson, Elizabeth McKim, and Fred Dewey.

On Thursday, October 7, poets Gerrit Lansing and Charles “Chuck” Stein will read from their work at the Bookstore of Gloucester, 61 Main Street. Both poets were close personal friends of Olson’s and each has paid tribute to Olson in poetry and prose. Lansing’s most recent book is “Heavenly Tree, Northern Earth,” published by North Atlantic Books. Stein is the author of a major critical study of Olson, “The Secret of the Black Chrysanthemum: The Poetic Cosmology of Charles Olson.”

Friday, September 17, 2010

Olson and DiPrima

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Olson 100 Update

Diane DiPrima, Poet Laureate of San Francisco, to be featured performer at Gloucester’s Charles Olson Centennial Celebration, October 3-10

Diane DiPrima, Poet Laureate of San Francisco, will be the featured reader at Olson 100, Gloucester’s celebration of the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Charles Olson, the local poet whose reputation was international. Sponsored by the Charles Olson Society, the Cape Ann Museum and local booksellers, businesses and non-profit organizations, and with a grant from the Bruce J. Anderson Foundation, the main events for the week-long celebration will take place on October 8-10 in downtown Gloucester.

DiPrima, who rose to prominence as a member of the Beat Generation of American writers, and who has published over forty books of poetry and prose, will be joined on Saturday night, October 9, by novelist, short story writer and poet Michael Rumaker. Both DiPrima and Rumaker were close personal friends of Olson’s during the 1950s and 60s. Rumaker, who was Olson’s student at Black Mountain College, in Asheville, North Carolina, is also the author of Black Mountain Days, a memoir of the college and his friendship with Olson, who was both a teacher and rector at the legendary experimental school, which launched the careers of painter Robert Rauschenberg and dancer Merce Cunningham.

The DiPrima and Rumaker readings, at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Universalist Unitarian Church, 10 Church Street, Gloucester, will be preceded by two panel discussions at the Cape Ann Museum, 27 Pleasant Street. The first, at 10:30 a.m., “Remembering Olson,” moderated by Gloucester writer and friend of Olson’s, Peter Anastas, will bring together speakers who actually knew Olson to share their experiences of the poet as a writer, mentor, teacher and friend. DiPrima and Rumaker are expected to join the panel along with poet and musician Ed Sanders and others. This panel will be followed by “Olson’s Project,” in which the poet’s legacy and contemporary relevance will be discussed. Beginning at 1 p.m., the panel will be moderated by poet, writer and CUNY professor Ammiel Alcalay, at whose Rocky Neck home Olson was often a visitor. Participants will include choreographer and writer Kate Tarlow Morgan, poets Charles Stein and Kristin Prevallet, writer, publisher and Los Angeles urban activist Fred Dewey, and others to be announced. The panels will be followed by the showing of Henry Ferrini’s award winning documentary film about Olson in Gloucester, “Polis is This” at 3 p.m. at the Cape Ann Community Cinema, 21 Main Street.

On Friday evening, there will be a marathon poetry reading at the UUC church, beginning at 7 p.m. Participants, including Gerrit Lansing and Ed Sanders, will read from their own poetry and from Olson’s. Events for Sunday, October 10 will begin at 11 a.m. with a “Maximus Walk,” led by members of the Charles Olson Society. Those who join the walk will visit local landmarks, which Olson has written about in “The Maximus Poems,” his epic about the city’s history. Relevant poems will be read at the various stops along the walk, which will lead from Stage Fort Park to downtown Gloucester.

The “Maximus Walk” will be followed by a presentation by Sarah Slifer and Mark Wagner of Olson’s dance play, “Apollonius of Tyana” at the Blackburn Performance Center. After the performance composer and musician Willie Alexander will present a concert of Olson’s poems, which he has set to music. A reception and party, at a location to be announced, will end the festivities.

Other scheduled events include a week of poetry and prose readings by local writers leading up to the main events, the launching of “Letters Home,” David Rich’s edition of Olson’s letters to Gloucester residents, published by the Cape Ann Museum, on Saturday, October 3 at 4 p.m., followed by a reading and book signing by Ammiel Alcalay of his new novel “Islanders,” at the Bookstore in Gloucester’s West End. Concurrently, the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library will sponsor “Olson in Print,” an exhibit of Olson books and memorabilia, curated by Gregory Gibson of Ten Pound Island Book Company. There will be a contemporary art installation by painter Susan Erony and photographer Paul Cary Goldberg, sponsored by the Cape Ann Museum at the White Ellery House, filmmaker and writer Henry Ferrini will give a reading from his children’s book about Olson, “Little Charlie Goes to Gloucester,” at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, October 9, and Gloucester writers James Cook and Peter Anastas will lead a weekly Charles Olson Study Group at the Bookstore, in Gloucester’s West End, beginning on Thursday, September 9 at 7 p.m., which is free and open to all to sign up for and attend.

For more information about the Charles Olson Centennial Celebration please visit http://www.Olson100.blogspot.com

Contact persons: Peter Anastas, 978-283-4582 panastas@comcast.net

James Cook, 978-281-5570 jcgloucester@hotmail.com

Henry Ferrini, 978-281-2355 Henry.Ferrini@verizon.net

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Charles Olson Study Group: An informal approach to understanding the life & writing of Charles Olson


Poetry lovers and those who would like to learn more about the life and work of the internationally acclaimed Gloucester poet Charles Olson are invited to join a free study group at the Bookstore in the West End, beginning on Thursday, September 9.


Sponsored by the Charles Olson Society and the Bookstore of Gloucester, the study group is open to everyone without charge. It will meet weekly through October 7 at 7 p.m. each evening.


Leading the study group will be poet, editor and teacher James Cook and writer and former Gloucester Times columnist, Peter Anastas. Anastas, a personal friend of Olson’s, edited the poet’s letters to the editor of the Gloucester Times, published as “Maximus to Gloucester.”


The purpose of the group, according to Cook, is to make Olson’s poetry and prose accessible to participants.


“We’ll be reading the major poems together,” Cook said, “trying to place them in the context of Olson’s multi-faceted career as a Harvard-trained scholar and historian, a wartime bureaucrat and Democratic Party politician in Washington, DC, and a teacher and later rector of the famed experimental Black Mountain College.”


“Our special focus,” Anastas adds, “will be on Olson’s life and work in Gloucester, particularly ‘The Maximus Poems,’ Olson’s epic poem about the city through history.”


The only required text for the study group will be Ralph Maud’s comprehensive “A Charles Olson Reader,” which is available for immediate purchase at the Book Store (see above cover photo of Maud's book).


Those interested in joining the group are asked to stop in at the Book Store and sign up or to call at 978-281-1548 to reserve a place.


The Olson study group is part of a series of events leading up to Olson 100, Gloucester’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the poet’s birth, which will take place over the weekend of October 9-10.


The celebration will include readings by local and visiting writers, panel discussions about Olson’s legacy, a Sunday morning walk to Gloucester sites mentioned in Olson’s poetry and the performance by Sarah Slifer and Mark Wagner of a dance play by Olson, followed by a concert featuring local musician and composer Willie Alexander, who has set some of Olson’s poetry to music. For more information on the centenary or the study group, please go to http://olson100.blogspot.com/

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gloucester Writers Center Event

Letter from the Gloucester Writers Center:

Less then four months ago our friend Paul Sawyer urged us to try one
more time to raise funds to purchase Vincent Ferrini’s home. Today
Paul is gone but he left us with a dream turned reality.

Thank you brother Paul.

We are delighted to announce that next month the Gloucester Writers
Center will be the official owner and resident of 126 East Main
Street! Come celebrate this historic occasion, meet our inaugural
Writer-in-Residence, Sandy Tolan, and hear him read from his
intriguing work-in-progress, which he’s been working on while in
residence at the Center.

Please join us to hear Sandy read from and talk about his work at
7:30 pm on Thursday, July 29, 2010. The event will be held across
the street from the Center at the Harbor Room. Dessert will be
served. We look forward to celebrating with you!

Please RSVP: 978-283-7738

All best,
Henry Ferrini & Anne Thomas

ABOUT SANDY
Sandy Tolan is author of two award-winning books and producer of
hundreds of features for NPR and Public Radio International. Among
many other publications, he has written for New York Times
Magazine, the Nation and the Christian Science Monitor. He is a
faculty member of UCSC’s prestigious Annenberg School of
Journalism. His second book, The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and
the Heart of the Middle East, was a Booklist Editor's Choice and a
finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His next bookinprogress
tells the remarkable story of a West Bank musician,
activist and national icon.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Diane di Prima is coming to Gloucester


The Charles Olson Society of Gloucester is excited to announce that Diane DiPrima will be reading on Saturday, October 9 at 7 pm at the Independent Church on Middle Street in Gloucester as part of the Olson 100 celebrations.

DiPrima, who is featured in Society member Henry Ferrini's film about Olson Polis is This, is currently the Poet Laureate of San Francisco. She has received lifetime achievement awards from the National Poetry Association and the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association. She has received grants from the Lapis Foundation, the National Endowment n the Arts, the Committee on Poetry, and the Institute for Aesthetic Development.

Of far greater importance than the many laurels she has earned has been her commitment to the ongoing project of cultivating a life in poetry. To get a sense of this commitment read click here to read "The Poetry Deal" written in 1993 but published most recently in the San Francisco Chronicle on April 16, 2010.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Gloucester’s Charles Olson Centenary Celebration Receives Grant from Bruce J. Anderson Foundation

The Charles Olson Society, a 501 © (3) nonprofit organization, has received a $2500 grant from the Bruce J. Anderson Foundation to assist in planning and organizing a series of events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the renowned Gloucester poet, Charles Olson. The main events will take place in downtown Gloucester on Columbus Day weekend (Friday, October 8 through Sunday, October 10), though other events will be held before the main festival. The Olson Society is soliciting matching donations to make it all happen.

Events will include a Charles Olson study group for local citizens, led by writers James Cook and Peter Anastas, meeting at The Bookstore in Gloucester’s West End once a week for five weeks prior to Columbus Day weekend; nightly readings at venues throughout Gloucester in the week prior to the main events; symposia and panel discussions at the Cape Ann Museum; a marathon reading at the Independent Church on Middle Street on Friday, October 8; featured readers at the Independent Church on Saturday, October 9; an Olson walk with readings highlighting sites in “The Maximus Poems” on Sunday; a performance of Olson’s dance play, “Apollonius of Tyana” presented by Gloucester dancer and choreographer Sarah Slifer and Mark Wagner, director of Worcester’s Charles Olson Centenary, held on March 25-27, 2010 in the city of Olson’s birth; and music from Willie Alexander, whose raucous musical setting of Olson's "Gravelly Hill" can be heard at the end of Polis is This and whose "Mass Ave" is the signature song of early punk rock in Boston.

These events, and several others being discussed, will complement an Olson exhibit at the Cape Ann Museum, which will open the first weekend in October. In addition the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library is sponsoring a special catalog/exhibition of rare, inscribed, and out‑of‑print books, letters, magazines and broadsides by Olson, curated by Greg Gibson of Ten Pound Island Book Company.

According to Olson Society president, Schuyler Hoffman, the Olson centennial celebrations in Gloucester will provide people with an opportunity to extend and intensify discussions and debates begun at events celebrating Olson’s life and work in Worcester, in March, and at Simon Fraser University, in Vancouver, in June. Hoffman noted that the Gloucester events will also provide a unique opportunity for Olson's readers to encounter many local sites described in Olson’s masterwork, The Maximus Poems, in the company of other poets, scholars, and enthusiasts.

“The ways contemporary poets, artists, teachers, and activists are responding to Olson's work ‑‑ exploring, extending, critiquing, revising‑‑ will be at the core of the Gloucester events,” Hoffman says. “With help from contributors we can make Gloucester's Charles Olson centennial events challenging, nourishing, and of essential use to those who attend.”

Tax-deductible contributions to help plan and organize the celebration may be sent to Olson Society treasurer, Kent Bowker, 11 Indian Rock Lane, Essex, MA. 01929, with checks made out to “The Charles Olson Society.”

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Letter from the Charles Olson Society of Gloucester

To the extended Charles Olson community:

Gloucester
's Charles Olson Society, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, is organizing a series of events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Olson's birth. The main events will take place in downtown Gloucester on Columbus Day weekend (Friday, October 8 through Sunday, October 10), though other events will be held before the main festival. We need your donations to make it all happen.

Events will include a Charles Olson study group of local citizens meeting once a week for five weeks prior to Columbus Day weekend; nightly readings at venues throughout Gloucester in the week prior to the main events; symposia and panel discussions; a marathon reading at the Independent Church on Middle Street on Friday, October 8; featured readers on Saturday, October 9; an Olson walk with readings highlighting sites in the Maximus Poems on Sunday, followed by a performance of Apollonius of Tyana.

These events, and several others being discussed, will complement an Olson exhibit at the Cape Ann Museum, which will open the first weekend in October. In addition the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library is sponsoring a special catalog/exhibition of rare, inscribed, and out-of-print books, letters, magazines and broadsides by Olson, curated by Greg Gibson of Ten Pound Island Book Company.

The Olson centennial celebrations in Gloucester in October will provide people with an opportunity to extend and intensify discussions and debates begun in Worcester in March and at Simon Fraser University in June. The Gloucester events will also provide a unique opportunity for Olson's readers to encounter many Maximus sites in the company of other poets, scholars, and enthusiasts. The ways contemporary poets, artists, teachers, and activists are responding to Olson's work -- exploring, extending, critiquing, revising-- will be at the core of the Gloucester events. With your help we can make Gloucester's Charles Olson centennial events challenging, nourishing, and of essential use to those who attend.

Please send checks to Charles Olson Society c/o Kent Bowker, Treasurer, 11 Indian Rock Lane, Essex, MA 01929, with "Olson 100" in the memo line. Those interested in contributing toward the establishment of the Vincent Ferrini/Charles Olson Writers Place should send donations to The Charles Olson Society c/o Henry Ferrini, 5 Wall Street, Gloucester, MA 01930.


Sincerely,


The Charles Olson Society of Gloucester