The Charles Olson Research Collection

Charles Olson’s papers are housed in the Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Center, University of Connecticut, Storrs. The long-neglected website at has these features:

A biographic sketch by George Butterick

with links to a chronology of Olson’s life (from Butterick’s A Guide to the Maximus Poems) and a partial bibliography

A searchable correspondence database

whose shortcomings include no dates for offshore correspondence

Brief biographies of Olson’s “correspondents of note”

A searchable 500+ photo database

A terse listing of the more than 1700 books and folders from Olson’s library housed at Storrs

Olson’s Melville Project

While researching the life and works of Herman Melville, Olson transcribed the marginalia of hundreds of books from Melville’s personal library. . . includes a detailed description of the project as well as searchable digital images of the marginalia.”

“A Taste of Olson,” poems and prose

Includes “A Lustrum for You, E.P.,” “La Preface,” “Bagatto,” “The Moebius Strip,” “ABCs,” “In Cold Hell, In Thicket” and “This” (all in The Collected Poems); lead paragraphs of “Projective Verse” and “Human Universe;” a fragment of Call Me Ishmael; a brief essay on prosody, “A Foot is to Kick With;” and a book review, “It Was. But it Ain’t.” (all in Collected Prose). “To Bet,” a dedicatory poem found with the Maximus Poems IV, V, VI MSS at Storrs as a galley proof, is not in the published work.

With a finding aid at

Elsewhere on the internet

PennSound at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing has a extensive audio postings of Olson poems and lectures:, including:

Reading at Black Mountain College, c. 1954

Reading at San Francisco State University, 1957

Reading in Boston, June 1962

Reading and lecture at Goddard College, Vermont, April 12-14, 1962

With a link to transcriptions by Kyle Schlesinger (cf. Ralph Maud’s transcriptions in Muthologos, 2nd edition).

Reading at the Vancouver Poetry Festival [sic], August 16, 1963

Talk at Gratwick’s [sic] Highlands, November 16, 1963

Transcribed by George M. Butterick and published in Muthologos with the title “Under the Mushroom.”

Lecture, “Causal Mythology” at the Berkeley Poetry Conference, July 20, 1965

Transcribed by George Butterick and published in Muthologos.

Reading at the Berkeley Poetry Conference, July 23, 1965

with a link to excerpts from Zoe Brown’s 1966 transcription (cf. Ralph Maud’s transcription in Muthologos).

Lectures on “Poetry and Truth” and a reading Beloit College, Wisconsin, March 25-29, 1968.

Transcribed by George Butterick and published in Muthologos.

and a number of unsourced readings.


The Slought Foundation website ( has posted extensive recordings from the 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference, recorded by Fred Wah, including:

The discussion of July 29 among Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Whalen and Olson

transcribed by Ralph Maud and published in Muthologos with the title “On History.”

The discussion of August 14 between Robert Creeley, Allen Ginsberg and Olson

transcribed by Ralph Maud and published in the 2nd edition of Muthologos with the title “Duende, Muse, and Angel.”

Reading by Charles Olson on August 14.


OlsonNow, a poetry and poetics blog established September 2005 by Michael Kelleher and Ammiel Alcalay (dormant since 2010):

Robert Creeley’s appreciation of Olson, written in 2000 as a preface to the second (paperback) edition of Tom Clark’s Charles Olson: Allegory of a Poet’s Life:

Robin Blaser’s 1983 essay “The Violets: ‘A Cosmological Reading of a Cosmology’” on Olson’s understanding of Alfred North Whitehead:

Review of Olson’s Selected Poems by Peter Quartermain:

Two responses to the Charles Olson Festival, August 12, 1995, Gloucester, Mass., on the Electronic Poetry Center website of the SUNY Buffalo:

The 1975 album Charles Olson Reads from Maximus Poems IV, V, VI is available on CD, cassette or by download from Smithsonian Folkways:

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