Thursday, January 15, 2009

letter to Ralph Maud

dear Ralph,

heard you were ill. trust you are better.

enjoyed your biographical corrective to Tom Clark; just have two disagreements with you on factual points:

(1) Olson did do a universe rubber band number. (Maud, p. 11, CHARLES OLSON AT THE HARBOR, Talonbooks, 2008.) A talk in London. I wasn't there then - was back in Buffalo, 1966, but it influenced Allen Fisher, who mentons it in an online interview recently, and who did several paintings in this field. He didn't say there were any of his (Allen's) poems specifically on it. But obviously at one point in his life, Olson had thought along these lines.

(2) The second point is less factual, more in the way of disagreement with your position re: Havelock's importance. (Personally, if invited I would have gone to that meeting/dinner; a shame you didn't, really.) PREFACE TO PLATO was the ONLY text REQUIRED for his Modern Poetry class, 9/63 - 5/64, and Olson made a specific point of referring the class to the article "Parataxis in Homer" by J.A. Notopolous (TAPA) 80, 1949, 1-23. In fact, either he xeroxed copies for the class, or encouraged us to read and do so, have now forgotten which. The article was footnoted in the Havelock text. It was a touchstone of sorts giving him the underpinning for what he "had come to know" but couldn't "prove" - i.e. the same reason he "withheld" Letter 27 from the first Maximus. So there was more to the Tom Clark Havelock speculation than you give him credit for in my opinion.

And I must add that your RD comment (p. 195) was a bit scurrilous don't you think?

w/best wishes,
bill sherman.

(page references to the Ralph Maud biography added Feb. 3rd)