Sharon Thesen gives Olson Lecture

October 24, 2022

Self-described Cascadian poet Sharon Thesen will give the annual Charles Olson lecture Saturday, October 29 at 1pm EDT, 10am PDT at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and it will be streamed. Details:

Sharon-Thesen Photo by Silmara Emde

Sharon Thesen (Photo by Silmara Emde)

Author Sharon Thesen will give this year’s annual Charles Olson Lecture, presented with the Gloucester Writers Center. Thesen will talk about working with Ralph Maud on the Olson/Boldereff correspondence (two editions, A Modern Correspondence, published by Wesleyan in 1999, and After Completion: The Later Letters published in 2014). In this lecture, Thesen will show how Olson’s love affair with Frances Boldereff set his compass intellectually in his move toward the recovery of what could be found in the archaic as a guide or inspiration for a new poetics.  

Sharon Thesen is a poet with work in the Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia anthology we curated in 2015 and also with work in our upcoming Cascadian Zen anthology to be launched October 2023. She co-edited two books of correspondence between Olson and Frances Boldereff and in Saturday’s talk delves into the correspondence to illuminate Boldereff’s contribution to ideas that have been totally ascribed to Olson.

As a poet who was told by Michael McClure in 1995 that Olson’s Projective Verse essay was the reason his (McClure’s) work had potency, I have routinely assigned the essay to online workshops I facilitate. The heavy masculine tone of the essay was not only de riguer but also encouraged by Boldereff, according to Thesen. Her talk (which I have read) is perceptive, insightful and fair to both Olson and Boldereff, free from the trap of presentism and illuminating to those interested in the development of Olson’s ideas. I hope to see you there.



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