In his manifesto ‘Projective Verse’ (1950) the poet Charles Olson proposed a new view of poetic structure based on the breath. Olson’s ideas were taken up, developed and modified by other American poets, including William Carlos Williams and Denise Levertov. These poets and their ideas were the focus of the first event in our Arts of Breath series – Hearing the Form: Breath, Pulse and Measure in 20th Century American Poetry.
This podcast is a conversation with Prof David Fuller who conceived and programmed the Arts of Breath series as well as presenting this first lecture. He considers how these ideas emerged and evolved within the social and political climate of the time along with excerpts of the poets reading their work.
The podcast features excerpts of the following
- William Carlos Williams speaking at Harvard in 1951
- Charles Olson reading ‘Letter #41 (Broken Off)’
- Robert Creeley reading ‘The Kingfishers’ by Charles Olson
- William Carlos Williams reading ‘The Yachts’
- Denise Levertov reading ‘The Ache of Marriage’
- Alice Oswald reading from ‘Memorial, an Excavation of Homer’s Iliad’
If you’d like to explore these poets further a good place to start is Penn Sound, a collection of recordings curated by the University of Pennsylvania. You may also enjoy this blog post: A Note on Poetry, Breath, Lines and Punctuation by William Wootten
This podcast was presented and produced by Sarah McLusky.
Prof David Fuller reading Charles Olson’s ‘Projective Verse’