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This article is taken from PN Review 167, Volume 32 Number 3, January - February 2006.

Black Mountain in England (3) Ian Brinton

Ralph Maud's A Charles Olson Reader, recently published by Carcanet, will probably stand for some years to come as the most intelligent and informative introduction to the American poet's life and work that is available. In his introduction Maud refers to Charles Tomlinson's special issue of Ian Hamilton's magazine of poetry and criticism, the Review. As the guest editor, in January 1964, Tomlinson produced an anthology of work related to the Black Mountain poets including poems by Olson, Zukofsky, Dorn and Levertov, Robert Duncan's essay 'Notes on Poetics' and an interview between the editor and Robert Creeley. It was particularly appropriate that this introduction to American poetry should have been taken on by Charles Tomlinson since the work of the British poet had been more readily recognised in the States than in his own country. Tomlinson's volume, The Necklace, had been published in 1955 by the Fantasy Press and in his absorbing autobiographical sketches, Some Americans: A Personal Record (published in the volume American Essays: Making It New, Carcanet, 2001), he suggests that it 'would not have appeared then, had Donald Davie not contributed an introduction'. Hugh Kenner reviewed the volume in the summer 1956 issue of Poetry and, as Tomlinson points out, by the date of the review 'I had virtually completed a full-scale collection, Seeing is Believing, adding a few more poems to the manuscript in ...


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