There is no other poet/scholar in Seattle like John Olson. In fact, there’s no one in the world quite like him. His appetite for language is unmatched. We all are our language, to some degree, but John lives words. Breathes syllables. Exhales some of the most fascinating scholarship and poetry that there is, sourced in Gertrude Stein, Dada, Surrealism, a Beat ethos and done with endless curiosity and a rare (in this realm) humility.

Bookcover for Mysteriosos by Michael McClure


So, when I saw the link on Silliman’s Blog to John’s review of Michael McClure’s latest book, Mysteriosos and Other Poems, I cringed a little. I mean, you bet I want to review the book, but how could I do it justice after John’s research into musical forms, biology experiments going back 60 years, McClure’s relationship with nature juxtaposed with the current nature as inert commodity mentality and a brilliant breakdown of one of the more striking short poems in the book.

Well, I can’t compete. That’s pointless. But competition is not part of John Olson’s realm, nor McClure’s. Sure, John sometimes wishes he had the audience of the average rock star, but John is like one of our brightest poetry rock stars in Seattle, and fathoms more interesting than any person working in that field.

So, yes, read his review, linked below. Buy one of his books at Open Books, and give thanks for people like him doing it the old fashioned way, living the life of writer and scholar, even as he makes this belated plunge into social networking and the blog-o-sphere.

Poetry As Protein

Mysteriosos, and Other Poems
Michael McClure
New Directions, 2010

reviewed by John Olson