Charles Olson’s ‘Projective Verse’ and the Inscription of the Breath
AbstractCharles Olson’s hugely influential essay-manifesto ‘Projective Verse’ is usually understood as proposing a close - and a necessary—link between poetry and body. Some account of Olson’s as a ‘poetics of embodiment’ or a ‘breath-poetics’ is almost ubiquitous in the extant criticism, yet what this might actually mean or imply for poetry and poetry-reading remains unclear. ‘Projective Verse’ is deeply ambivalent about print, seeing in it the ‘closed verse’ Olson looked to replace, while simultaneously idealising the typed-and-printed page as the only medium for the supposed immediacy of the poet’s breath. This essay contends that Olson’s lionisation of the typewriter is accompanied by a suppressed inscriptional register—a concern with carving and engraving—and asks what the substrate hosting this inscription might be. The aims of the piece are twofold: to demonstrate that ‘Projective Verse’ contains a logic of inscription which has gone severely underappreciated; and to argue that this logic runs up against the much better-documented logic of poetic embodiment via the breath in such a way as to deeply trouble criticism’s rather murky understanding of what that latter logic implies, both in Olson’s specific case and for poetry more generally. View Full-Text
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Gillott, B.C. Charles Olson’s ‘Projective Verse’ and the Inscription of the Breath. Humanities 2018, 7, 108.
Gillott BC. Charles Olson’s ‘Projective Verse’ and the Inscription of the Breath. Humanities. 2018; 7(4):108.Chicago/Turabian Style
Gillott, Brendan C. 2018. "Charles Olson’s ‘Projective Verse’ and the Inscription of the Breath." Humanities 7, no. 4: 108.
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