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Dorn had asked Olson for a list of required readings, and Olson showed him how to use it: “Best thing to do is it. And you’re in, forever.” Edward Dorn did exactly that after leaving Black Mountain: He devoted years of research to the American West and specifically to the Shoshone Indian tribe.Olson had taken his own advice and began gathering information of all kinds on his own hometown, Gloucester, Massachusetts, which eventually became the subject matter for his monumental .as an economic blueprint of the relationship of various classes in society; that is, economic factors lie beneath everything and are the key to understanding the real themes of the novel and the history of that period.
The content was to consist of "one perception immediately and directly (leading) to a further perception".
This essay was to become a kind of de facto manifesto for the Black Mountain poets.
Although it lasted only twenty-three years (1933–1956) and enrolled fewer than 1,200 students, Black Mountain College was one of the most fabled experimental institutions in art education and practice.
It launched a remarkable number of the artists who spearheaded the avant-garde in the America of the 1960s.
Human attempts to control the powers of nature and the resulting chaos that such self-destructive behavior produces became one of Olson’s principal themes throughout his poetry and prose.
Olson perpetually used various versions of the mythic motif of the Fall, disengaging it from any specifically Christian contexts.
Such anti-Romantic poets often described their mental anguish in traditional rhyme and meter and lamented a world completely cut off from anything but a subjective reality.
Olson proposed that the spirit of Romanticism reassert itself in what he called “objectism” (a term he created) as a more radical alternative to William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound’s “objectivism”: Objectism is the getting rid of the lyrical interference of the individual as ego, of the “subject” and his soul, that peculiar presumption by which western man has interposed himself between what he is as a creature of nature (with certain instructions to carry out) and those other creatures of nature which we may, with no derogation, call objects. Olson further exhorts people to recognize themselves as objects among the other objects in nature and to do so with an attitude of humility.
One of the important keys to understanding Olson’s highly complex prose and poetry is the fact that he was also one of the greatest and most effective teachers in the history of American pedagogy.
The success of his students as writers and artists attests his powerful classroom presence.