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After Completion
The Later Letters
By (author): Charles Olson With: Frances Boldereff Edited by: Sharon Thesen Edited by: Ralph Maud
9780889227064 Paperback, Trade English General Trade LITERARY COLLECTIONS / Diaries & Journals Sep 15, 2012
$24.95 CAD
Active 6 x 9 x 0.5 in 256 pages Talonbooks
After Completion: The Later Letters between modern American poet Charles Olson and typographer and Joyce scholar Frances Boldereff opens in September 1950, following a crisis that amounted to a “completion” of the major phase of their relationship. The 140 letters in this volume present a passionate relationship realized mostly in correspondence—one that was ultimately vital to Olson’s working out of his projectivist poetics. Unique among Olson’s correspondents, Boldereff embodied the interlocutor, muse, Sybil, lover, and critic, and through her engagement with Olson had an incalculable effect on twentieth-century poetry.

Born in 1910, Charles Olson’s first two books, Call Me Ishmael (1947), a study of Melville’s Moby Dick, and The Mayan Letters (1953), written to Robert Creeley from Mexico, cover a range of subjects—mythology, anthropology, language, and cultural history—and use the fervent informal style that were to distinguish all his discursive prose. Olson’s manifesto, Projective Verse, published in 1950, was quoted generously in William Carlos Williams’ Autobiography (1951). Olson was rector of Black Mountain College, North Carolina, 1951-1956, and taught at the State University of New York, Buffalo, 1963-1965. Settling in Gloucester, Massachusetts, he devoted most of his time and energy until his death in 1970 to The Maximus Poems, his most substantial work.

“Lovers to the end, Olson and Boldereff remained faithfully bonded by the central role that imagination and art played in each of their lives. Their mutual admiration for each other’s intellect was left untarnished by any personal failure. In this volume of letters, it is Boldereff who appears the stronger of the two on all accounts. She never wavers in her interest in Olson as both a man and an artist. … If there’s any benefit to come from having this correspondence made available, it should surely bring about greater attention to the sharp interrelating of Joyce and Blake accomplished by Boldereff in her books. Her work receives too little the acknowledgement it richly deserves.”
Bookslut

“Boldereff, while appearing to serve her pantheon of ‘great men,’ puts them into her service. This book is not the fiery Olson workshop of the previous volume. Boldereff here enters the period of her own working, beginning with her manifesto Credo in Unam … it is a call for a new woman, a woman who is strong, independent, sexually liberated, and within whose ambit man can find his own maturity, as they enter the new age together … Boldereff’s books are strange but not delirious. Her work on Joyce is substantial … ”
The Capilano Review

“What is stunning about this collection is the density of intellectual and cultural observations by both participants in this dialogue – and the ways in which Boldereff and Olson’s mythopoetic shoptalk quickly shifted in and out of the amorous and plainly erotic, which here so often serve as the groundwork of the intellectual and cultural materials.”
— Andrew Mossin

“Lovers to the end, Olson and Boldereff remained faithfully bonded by the central role that imagination and art played in each of their lives. Their mutual admiration for each other’s intellect was left untarnished by any personal failure. In this volume of letters, it is Boldereff who appears the stronger of the two on all accounts. She never wavers in her interest in Olson as both a man and an artist. … If there’s any benefit to come from having this correspondence made available, it should surely bring about greater attention to the sharp interrelating of Joyce and Blake accomplished by Boldereff in her books. Her work receives too little the acknowledgement it richly deserves.”
Bookslut

“Boldereff, while appearing to serve her pantheon of ‘great men,’ puts them into her service. This book is not the fiery Olson workshop of the previous volume. Boldereff here enters the period of her own working, beginning with her manifesto Credo in Unam … it is a call for a new woman, a woman who is strong, independent, sexually liberated, and within whose ambit man can find his own maturity, as they enter the new age together … Boldereff’s books are strange but not delirious. Her work on Joyce is substantial … ”
The Capilano Review

“What is stunning about this collection is the density of intellectual and cultural observations by both participants in this dialogue – and the ways in which Boldereff and Olson’s mythopoetic shoptalk quickly shifted in and out of the amorous and plainly erotic, which here so often serve as the groundwork of the intellectual and cultural materials.”
— Andrew Mossin

“Lovers to the end, Olson and Boldereff remained faithfully bonded by the central role that imagination and art played in each of their lives. Their mutual admiration for each other’s intellect was left untarnished by any personal failure. In this volume of letters, it is Boldereff who appears the stronger of the two on all accounts. She never wavers in her interest in Olson as both a man and an artist. … If there’s any benefit to come from having this correspondence made available, it should surely bring about greater attention to the sharp interrelating of Joyce and Blake accomplished by Boldereff in her books. Her work receives too little the acknowledgement it richly deserves.”
Bookslut

“Boldereff, while appearing to serve her pantheon of ‘great men,’ puts them into her service. This book is not the fiery Olson workshop of the previous volume. Boldereff here enters the period of her own working, beginning with her manifesto Credo in Unam … it is a call for a new woman, a woman who is strong, independent, sexually liberated, and within whose ambit man can find his own maturity, as they enter the new age together … Boldereff’s books are strange but not delirious. Her work on Joyce is substantial … ”
The Capilano Review

“What is stunning about this collection is the density of intellectual and cultural observations by both participants in this dialogue – and the ways in which Boldereff and Olson’s mythopoetic shoptalk quickly shifted in and out of the amorous and plainly erotic, which here so often serve as the groundwork of the intellectual and cultural materials.”
—Andrew Mossin

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