Bibliography

The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke (Garden City, NY, 1966).

Peter Balakian, Theodore Roethke's Far Fields: The Evolution of his Poetry (Baton Rouge, 1989).

Don Bogen, Theodore Roethke and the Writing Process (Athens, OH, 1991). Jay Parini, Theodore Roethke: An American Romantic (Amherst, 1979).

Charles Olson consciously cast himself as furthering and developing the work of the modernist generation of poets, especially Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams, although for some critics his work never fully emerges from their shadow. Nevertheless, in his essays, letters, and poetry, and in his work as an educator, he served as an important bridge between the modernist innovators and such younger poets as Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Paul Blackburn, Ed Dorn, and Amiri Baraka. Williams himself endorsed Olson's theory of "Projective Verse" by reprinting a sizeable section of the essay in his 1951 Autobiography. Olson was one of Pound's first visitors at St. Elizabeths following the older poet's incarceration in the Washington, DC, mental hospital, and in frequent meetings over the next two years struggled to reconcile his deep respect for Pound's work, his interest in his economic philosophy, and his disgust at his politics. Following their break in 1948 (although there may have been at least one further meeting) the two did not meet again until 1965, seven years after Pound's release.

Olson, the son of a postal worker, was born and grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts, although he spent his summers in Gloucester - the site of his later Maximus sequence. He attended Wesleyan University, and completed the course work for a doctoral degree at Harvard. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1940 for his research on Melville, work that eventually lead to his first book, Call Me Ishmael (1947). But before committing himself to a career as a writer Olson spent five years (1941-5) working in New York and Washington, first for the American Civil Liberties Union, and then, from 1942 to 1944, in the Office of War Information. In 1945 he was working for the Democratic National Committee as director of the Foreign Nationalities Division, but, following the death of Franklin Roosevelt, he gave up this burgeoning career in politics. He had advanced to the point of being informally offered the posts of Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and the Post Office Generalship.

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