Robert Creeley (1999)

Tape Letter From Olson to Creeley (1960)

Charles Olson (1962)


“…I’m really trying to explain that I don’t believe I’m obscure.”

—Charles Olson, Causal Mythology

“…it is not simply a romantic enterprise he is drawn to, but the need to know by means of a determined process…”

—Robert Creeley from his introduction to Collected Prose: Charles Olson

Last October (2013) I sat down in the WPR to begin listening to recordings of Robert Creeley and Charles Olson. I chose the recordings of these two poets because Creeley and Olson’s artistic camaraderie fascinates me. I also chose these recordings because each poet represents both a discrete and shared poetics that is seemingly radical, enlightening, and physical in the sense of the body and the field of energy that is the poem.

The work presented here is a transcription of my hand written and drawn notes. These are my rushed efforts to capture and distill the experience of listening to these two poets. It is a visual document—a geography of not only my thoughts, but also of the resonant kinetic space between Creeley and Olson.

In his introduction to the poem Possibilities during a 1999 reading at Harvard, Creeley remarks that one of the useful ways to write about art is to “not try to understand what you’re saying.” While my initial note-taking may have heeded this advice, this transcription, in a sense, attempts the opposite. It reveals an immediate record of thought with the intent to trace, map, and understand a process of thinking and the experience of listening.


Lewis Feuer is a MFA candidate in poetry at University of Massachusetts Boston. His work was recently featured in No Infinite: a Journal of Poetry, Art, and Protest. He teaches Creative Writing at UMB, and serves on the organizing committee for the Graduate Employee Organization UAW Local 1596.