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October 11, 2012

Waldman set for Olson lecture

Influential, experimental poet Anne Waldman will give the third annual Charles Olson lecture on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, delivering a talk titled “Robert Duncan’s Dream.”

Waldman is carrying on a tradition begun in 2010 with the Charles Olson Centennial, when Diane di Prima, the former poet laureate of San Francisco, delivered the first Charles Olson Lecture. Last year, noted poet, writer and filmmaker Iain Sinclair came from London to give the second annual lecture.

An author of more than 40 collections of poetry, she is a founder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, based in Colorado. She is active in the Outrider experimental poetry movement, and has been connected to the Beat movement and the second generation of the New York School.

Waldman first met Charles Olson at the celebrated Berkeley Poetry Conference in 1965, held at the campus of the University of California, attended by many post modernist poets, many who now are recognized for their work, some of which was once considered counter-culture and often shunned by the mainstream press at the time.

“(This meeting with Olson) changed my life and set me on the spiritual path of poetry,” Waldman said through a statement. “I had already been to Gloucester, a kind of Maximus pilgrimage, but then saw Olson later in London in 1967 at an international festival which again, his performance there, re-confirmed my desires to enter the poem-zone.”

Gloucester’s Charles Olson (1910-1970), a Post Modern poet, left a legacy that continues to have world-wide influence among both an old guard and new guard of scholars and writers. His last work, titled “The Maximus Poems,” is an epic poem that centered on Gloucester as a microcosm of the world.

Waldman’s talk draws from a seminal dream from Robert Duncan’s “The H.D. Book,” and the notion of the poet’s job as “looking into the darkness of one’s time.” This presentation will reference the Arab Spring, Occupy Movement, cultural activism, and Waldman’s own investigations into symbiosis, cellular memory and drone technology. The lecture will be accompanied by a presentation of images relating to the entire text.

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