Poetry and Pedagogy: Charles Olson, Black Mountain College, and Beyond

deadline for submissions: 
September 15, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
The Charles Olson Society
contact email: 

The Charles Olson Society will host panels at the upcoming Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture, to be held in Louisville, Kentucky, February 22nd – 24th. When Charles Olson stated in “The Gate and the Center” that “the poet is the only pedagogue left, to be trusted,” his experiences at Black Mountain College, Buffalo, and the University of Connecticut as a poet-teacher were still on the horizon. At Louisville, the Olson Society will explore topics involving the relationship between poetry and pedagogy, including but not limited to Olson’s time teaching at Black Mountain College as well as the pedagogical practices of other figures related to Black Mountain poetry like Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Ed Dorn, and the nexus of poets at the State University at Buffalo. While working with specific figures, essays could also investigate institutions and programs that took up the pedagogical tradition of Black Mountain College, such as Naropa University and New College in San Francisco, among others. We are particularly interested in abstracts that will create conversations about the connections between different styles of teaching practices and poetics. In his 1952 prospectus for Black Mountain College, Olson wrote that “the law of a teacher at Black Mountain is to function as a working ‘artist’ in the teaching world, to be no passive recipient or hander-out of mere information, but to be and increasingly to become, productive, creative, using everything that comes within his orbit, including especially people.” How have teaching and poetry become intertwined over the past fifty years? What sorts of classroom practices stoke the productivity and creativity of both teachers as poets, of students as poets?

Interested scholars and poets should send an abstract of 250 words to Joshua Hoeynck (jsh115@case.edu) and Jeffrey Gardiner (jeffreyjgardiner@gmail.com) no later than September 15th. Please include a biographical note as well as any academic affiliation.