PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Subha Mukherji Dying and Living with De la Mare Carl Phillips Fall Colors and other poems Alex Wylie The Bureaucratic Sublime: on the secret joys of contemporary poetry Marilyn Hacker Montpeyroux Sonnets David Herman Memories of Raymond Williams
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This report is taken from PN Review 185, Volume 35 Number 3, January - February 2009.

Twombly and Olson: How can a man throw his shadow? Simon Eckett

In his 1952 essay 'Cy Twombly', Charles Olson asks, 'Take it flatly, a plane. On it, how can a man throw his shadow, make this the illumination of his experience, how put his weight exactly - there?' Later he adds, 'How make that plane, the two dimensions, be all - from a point to any dimension?' For himself, he answers, 'In my business it comes out how, by alphabetic letters, such signs and their syllables...' For Twombly, Olson writes, 'the thrown down glyphs, the old sorells in sheep dirt in caves, the flaking iron - these are his paintings. ' On arrival at Black Mountain College in 1951 Twombly made an immediate impression on Olson. In his letter to Robert Creeley of Friday November 29th 1951, Olson writes, 'And so to the Gothic: as Shahn or you or Twombly or self are, more Gothic than, Renaissance... Anyhow, the pleasure, of talking to a boy as open & sure as this Twombly, abt line, just the goddamned wonderful pleasure of form, when one can talk to another who has the feeling for it - and christ, who has?' and in the same letter he adds, 'I so like this lad.' That same month Olson wrote a poem, 'For Cy Twombly Faced with His First Chicago & N.Y. Shows', expressing, 'Paint heats, or is caused to flow// in his hands, causes// what is, which is who he is,...'

...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image