Introduction to the Guide


This is the poet John Campion.  I teach in the English Department at UC Berkeley and have set up this web site primarily as a guide for individuals who wish to read The Maximus poems.

We’ve passed the 100th year of Charles Olson’s birth and there have been major conferences reflecting this important date. The student journals and essays presented in this project provide an excellent guide for people attempting to read this difficult book-length work.

* (Place your cursor over the first heading (Introduction to the Guide) to select either the journal entries by page numbers or by topic to look at essays on the complete Maximus Poems.)

These journals were part of the required work in my special topics course at UC BERKELEY. The entries coincide with the text, moving from the beginning of the Maximus Poems and continuing in chronological order to the end. The journals include one final entry (no. 23) that covers each student’s (there were seven) view of the work as a whole.

These come in the form of essays. they embody and unify the line of thought their shorter and page-related journal entries address. Each student had a particular area of interest (E.g. Philosophy, Feminism, Ecology, Buddhism) that is reflected in the work below. Readers of this project are free also to download the entire pdf of student journal entries. Feel free to share this content with students of Olson everywhere.

(You may click on this PDF File to see all of the Entries and all of the Essays from the Students’ Guide in one file. The PDF retains the original formatting and contains some illustrations not included in the individual entries.)

Finally I want to encourage you to check out the extensive list of external links concerning the life and work of this great poet.  Here you’ll find poems, essays, biographies, audios, videos, and film.  John Campion