Charles Olson was the most influential of the “New American Poets” that flourished in the US in the 1960s, and one of the twentieth century’s most original poetic voices. His ideas of “projective verse” and “composition by field” revolutionized notions of poetic form around the world, and his poetry, from “The Kingfishers” (1950) to his epic,

The Maximus Poems

, presented post-war poets with new ways of thinking about poetry’s engagement with the past, place and politics. In his short career, spanning less than 25 years, Olson produced some of the boldest and most important American poetry of the post-war era.

Olson was born in the industrial town of Worcester, Massachusetts in 1910, the son of Karl Joseph Olson, a postman and Swedish immigrant, and Mary Hines, a

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Citation: Hickman, Ben. "Charles Olson". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 March 2011 [, accessed 16 July 2024.]

3415 Charles Olson 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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