Friday, September 9, 2011

Aimless Reading: The O's, Part 5.25 (Charles Olson)

Causal Mythology by Michael_Kelleher
Causal Mythology, a photo by Michael_Kelleher on Flickr.
Olson, Charles
Causal Mythology


Let me acknowledge up front that I begin this post feeling like a jerk. This book was given to me as a gift. By a friend. Possibly a close friend. What's more, it was given to me within the last three years. Yet, for whatever reason, I cannot remember who gave it to me. I cast about in my head and draw a blank. I really, really appreciate it, whoever it was. Thanks. And sorry. Feel free to berate me in the comment box or in person the next time you see me.

I remember reading this in the library in graduate school. Going to the library at the University at Buffalo is not fun. The building is a monolithic, brutalist hunk dropped across the path from the English department. I remember studying in these little cubicles with locking doors and thinking how much more useful these would be for clandestine sexual encounters than for studying.

After a time, I only went in there to take out books or to return them. I rarely stayed to read or study. The same could be said for the campus. After a time, I only went there to attend classes or go to events. I rarely stayed for any other reason, least of all studying.

After Kent Johnson's comment about the value of yesterday's book, I did a quick search to see how much my copy of The Distances is worth. Sadly, about ten dollars. This volume, on the other hand, is worth a tidy twenty-two dollars. Not quite the money I could be raking in by running an avant-garde poetry press, but hey, it's a lot less work, too.

from Causal Mythology

You know I'm very obliged to get rid of that rap for being Zeus. I never knew I was Prometheus until now. It's a fine thing–I've been a father figure too long. [Laughter]. And I've begun to suffer so completely the fate of that other fellow that what I propose to do today is to expose myself, as he was, on a rock. And, in fact, if I can accomplish anything it's simply because there's a little of my liver left from overnight, like I think his was. [Laughter].

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