Charles Olson Centenary Conference June 4-6 2010

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Simon Fraser University
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June 4-6 2010
Simon Fraser University
Vancouver British Columbia

One hundred years after his birth, and fifty years after The New American Poetry anthology transformed the landscape of contemporary poetry, Charles Olson, arguably one of the most influential figures in twentieth century literature, remains a puzzlingly marginalized figure. As Ben Friedlander writes in Olson's Collected Prose, it is "as if the unread Olson were the necessary ¾ submerged berg making possible the ¼ ice floe." In the spirit of bringing Olson back into the polis—and delving into the "3/4 submerged" portion of this "maximal" figure—the Charles Olson Centenary Conference seeks new readings of Olson's poetry, poetics, and his influence on twentieth and twenty-first century literature and culture. Topics to be addressed could include (but are not limited to):

● Black Mountain College reconsidered
● The New Canadian Poetry? Olson north of the border
● Olson, economics, and democracy
● Olson, geography, and the spatial turn
● Olson and American history
● Olson and the archive
● Olson / Melville / Shakespeare
● Olson and Mexico
● Olson, Women, and the Feminine
● Olson and his contemporaries
● Olson and 21st century poetry
● Olson's influences/Olson's influence
● Poetry as research
● Poetry and the polis
● The politics of poetic form

Please submit abstracts of 250-500 words to Stephen Collis at by October 1 2009. More information and conference updates will be available at