Jerome Rothenberg's "that dada strain" at once hilarious grandiose epic lyric historical and ever adventurous charts the highs discovered in his reading of the dada era. In like occurrence this writing seeks to poke around in the occult cupboards of Olson's mystical leanings. Looking not only at his work and assorted readings/engagements but delving also into the works of various others (Joanne Kyger, Jack Hirschman, Paul Blackburn, Gerrit Lansing, David Meltzer, Robert Duncan, Diane di Prima, Robin Blaser et al) who fell in alongside as well as after his work's star-eyed haul. Loquaciously gifted as a talker, how much (if any) of Olson's more spiritual exultations are nothing more than a big man poet's hustle? does it matter? Vitalities of breath, visual spacing of the poem about the page's surface, will intermingle with poetic camaraderie and wit of like-eyed recognition. When Olson first saw Blakean poet John Clarke at a party in Buffalo he went right over. He wanted to talk to Clarke because he dug how he sat with his legs crossed and the material (corduroy) his pants were made out of. That moment and many more led directly to A Curriculum of the Soul a startling series of fascicles that, much like Clarke's own work, has received scant critical interest. Why? Key questions remain ever present. Such as, who are we sitting here doing this poetry thing? where might it all be headed? Let's see what's out there to find out. As Creeley says, "one had the company."
Dunagan, Patrick James, "Joanne Kyger and “the Kook Strain” in Olson: A Reading" (2022). Gleeson Library Faculty and Staff Research and Scholarship. 43.