Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Aimless Reading: The O's, Part 5.5 (Charles Olson)

Olson, Charles
Olson: The Journal of the Charles Olson Archives, Number 4

Click here for details on my acquisition of this set.

Starting to feel a but more like we have arrived in this house. I gave away all the archive boxes I'd used for my books yesterday, so almost all of the boxes we've unpacked are now gone. There's still a lot of clutter. we accepted too many free things from the previous owner, especially chairs. We have an attic full of chairs we probably won't use.

I am trying to remember more about my trip to the Olson archive.

I remember I stayed with the Literary Outlaw Richard Deming and his partner, Nancy Kuhl, in New Haven. I drove 90 minutes or so each morning to the archive, where the curator, Rutherford, would have a couple of carts worth of material waiting for me.

Like most archives, the excitement is all in the content, not the context. I remember it being a quiet, carpeted, air-conditioned room with large, utilitarian (meaning student-proof) tables. All of the stacks were hidden behind the counter.

I don't remember much else, except that it cost something like 50 cents per photocopy, which meant I could only make about ten, of which I've since lost about half.

from Olson: The Journal of the Charles Olson Archives, Number 4

from "On History"

(This is Olson speaking with Ginsberg in Vancouver in 1964)

Olson: Etymon. The right word. The root. The word in the rightness of its root. Not at all the usages, the behavior of the word, but the actual thing that it is. Yeah? And that thing in itself is where we really have a chance to put our hand out and grab ahold of something. Otherwise we're simply getting caught in the event either of the society, which is one form of what's boringly called history, or the event of ourselves, which is also that damn boring thing called personal history.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you can really see pound's influence here: i think pound believed most of the world's problems could be solved by the precise word for the thing, but i'm not sure....

grabbing something out there, it may all be smoke and mirrors after all

i look at lists of archives: i think that would be my dream vacation...