R. B. Kitaj (1932–2007)
>Color screenprint, 1969
Charles Olson closely mirrored Ezra Pound in the scope and conception of his work. He constructed a huge poetic edifice centered around a fictional everyman character (who lived in Gloucester, Massachusetts) called “Maximus,” through whom streamed a voice that was both vernacular and mythic.
Again, like Pound, Olson was distrustful of modern life and history, viewed progress as a swindle, and thought that rationalism was an impediment to authentic self-expression. He called modern life the “pejorocracy,” as in “love is not easy / but how shall you know, / New England, now / that pejorocracy is here.”
The Maximus Poems (1953) sprawled across the page in a torrent of words and images, a personal poetic vision that one is stunned into admiring but that is so idiosyncratic that it is hard to comprehend, let alone encompass.
I, Maximus of Gloucester, to You Off-shore, by islands hidden in the blood jewels & miracles, I. Maximus a metal hot from boiling water, tell you what is a lance, who obeys the figures of the present dance Charles Olson From “The Maximus Poems,” 1953