Charles Olson

Charles Olsen

1910 (Worcester, Mass.) – 1970 (New York)

Olson, who was invited to Black Mountain College by Josef Albers before succeeding him there, was a major influence on a generation of American poets. He met Yeats on a European visit won as a student, and visited Pound (a deeply significant ‘elder’) for two years in mental hospital, though was repelled by his extreme-right views. Cage, Cunningham, Twombly, Wolpe, Harrison and Kline were among Black Mountain acquaintances. Among the leading poets he both knew and influenced were Creeley, Levertov and Duncan (who felt they had been on a great adventure together, and visited him in his last days).