The weather was perfect -- clear skies, warm in the sun, the air cool enough for light jackets, sort of a metaphor for this near-perfect festival. And in many ways this was the quintessential Olsonesque reading of the festival, walking the streets of Gloucester, tracking the sites here/not-here, poetry &/as civic activism, the generation that knew the poet & the next generation who gets what it's about.
Before the walk started I sat on the granite ledge of the Cape Ann Museum talking with a couple from Worcester, then with Ed Sanders about his archives, & spent the tour with my dear friend Jean Dugan -- it was that kind of day.
The Fitz Hugh Lane house on Harbor Loop was the site of the next reading where James Cook read Olson's letter of 10/16/65 (Charles Olson: Maximus to Glouceter, edited by Peter Anastas, Ten Pound Island Books, 1992). Peter said this letter contains everything Olson is about, his "specificity". Then he did Olson's letter "A Beef About Homer's Stamp" from the same book. We owe Peter thanks for this connection to the real, physical, loud, big figure of the poet.
We were led next to the maritime/industrial area, standing by the business of Gloucester, the fishing (& tourist) boats, overlooking new public space, its use being debated among the citizens. Kevin Gallagher read "Maximus, to Himself" (I, 52), with its grand ending:
It is undone business
I speak of, this morning,
with the sea
from my feet
Then Henry Ferrini read "For RC" & Chuck Stein read from the Dogtown section of Maximus IV, V, VI.
On to St. Peter's Square for Jim Cocola from Worcester to read the tansy button "Letter 3" (I, 9). Jim is working on a map of the places mentioned in Maximus.
We ended up on Main St. across the street from the historic Blackburn building. Peter Anastas read Olson's 1968 letter-to-the-editor/poem "Rocking Meter over Desolation" reprinted in Charls Olson: Letters Home. A couple more pieces, including Henry Ferrini reading the short nautical note of II, 132, then James Cook ended with Olson's dream-poem of Gloucester places "The Librarian" (see Archaeologist of Morning).
So much more to see, to find, and this was perfect for a Sunday in Gloucester.