Reading and Writing through Charles Olson’s Maximus Poems:
a poetry workshop spanning 16 Sundays from January 6 to May 5, 2013
(Toronto, ON or Cyberspace)
In this workshop, we will study the work of Charles Olson, engaging his epic The Maximus Poems. This book of poetry will generate conversation and strategies for the writing we enact.
We spend one hour reading poems aloud and another hour writing. The writing portion takes the form of starting points & prompts drawn from the poems as well as those of my own design. Writing sessions are formalized into poems—participants gather works into mini-manuscripts for review and commentary in the final class or, in the case of virtual students, in one-on-one consultations with me.
All students may keep abreast of the material via weekly email summaries; these provide continuity and content regardless of whether attendance is possible to all meetings.
More Details on the Workshop:
Both in-person and virtual students have found that the workshop’s weekly engagement has generated poems, lead to revision of older work, given new understanding to poetics, and triggered the reworking of dusty manuscripts.
Attendance is on-location in my home near Chester Station in Toronto or in cyberspace (in the form of a weekly email).
Meeting time for in-person attendance is 4 PM to 6 PM each Sunday. No class on February 24th or March 10th.
The Maximus Poems (University of California Press)
Guide to the Maximus Poems, George Butterick (University of California Press)
Charles Olson: The Allegory of a Poet’s Life, Tom Clark (North Atlantic Books)
History of the Workshop, Cost and How to Join:
I have been leading poetry workshops like this one for 15 years. The focus is transmission, absorption and enacting. Previous workshops have engaged the collected works of Creeley, Niedecker, Kyger, Ted Berrigan, Spicer, Stein, Dickinson, Notley and Whalen. An essay on the class is included in the anthology Poets on Teaching (University of Iowa, 2010). This is the third time I’ve led a group of poets to read and write through the Maximus poems; it has, in the past, been most generative.
To register or for more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations accepted.