Author, Poet. He was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. He was educated at Wesleyan University and Harvard, where he studied American civilization. During the Second World War, he worked for the Democratic Party and for the Office of War information as assistant chief of the Foreign Language Division. His first 2 books, "Call Me Ishmael" (1947), a study of Mellville's "Moby-Dick," and "The Mayan Letters" (1953), written to Robert Creeley from Mexico where he was studying Mayan hieroglyphics. His influential manifesto, "Projective Verse," was published in pamphlet form in 1950 and then quoted in William Carlos Willams's "Autobiography" (1951). He had started writing poetry including "The Kingfishers," "In Cold Hell," and "Thicket" (1953). "The Distances" was his second collection published in 1960. In 1951, he succeeded the artist Josef Albers as rector of Black Mountain College, North Carolina, and remained there until it closed in 1956. He taught again at the State University of New York, Buffalo (1963-1965) but settled in Gloucester, Massachusetts, devoted most of his time and energy in subsequent years to "The Maximus Poems" which begun in 1950 as a sequence of verse letters to his friend Vincent Ferrini. The first volume of "The Maximus Poems" (1960) was published in 1960 followed by the second volume, "The Maximus Poems, IV, V, VI" in 1968. The unfinished final volume, "The Maximus Poems, Volume III" was published in 1975 after his death.
Bio by: Genet
Augusta Elizabeth Kaiser Olson