Charles Olson was a postmodern poet, sort of Jack Kerouac, in verse. Separated by twelve years, both men came from Central Massachusetts, — Olson from Worcester, Kerouac from nearby Lowell – a twenty-mile distance probably shorter if the crow flies. Both men went to Harvard, but Olson was huge: six foot six in his stocking feet and weighed about 250 pounds; Kerouac was slight easily half that soaking wet. Both left the Bay State, only Charlie returned.

His size was stunning, and he had the prophetic nickname of “the Bull,” Before he was a poet he was renown for his oratory skills — Venus is trine his ascendant from the ninth. So it’s no surprise then that his ascendant was in Taurus. How could it be anything but?

Read more: C108 Postmodern Scribbles, Charles Olson
The Gloucester Fisherman, one hundred years of vigilance.

His chart too has plenty of signs that poetry was his beat — Neptune in Cancer opposite his Midheaven and Mercury, the preponderance in the ninth house and in Capricorn, also his focal determinator, is a good place for rhythm. Charlie kept the beat, where ever he roamed and when he read his works, one thought of Carlyle’s quote, “literary men are a perpetual priesthood that one longs to hear.” 1 Thos. Carlyle, State of German Literature c. 1827 for Charlie’s chart shows, “poets are born, not made.” 2 poeta nascitur non fit, Sir Philip Sidney c. 1581 .

Alas, that ninth house was problematic for Charlie, as his biographer called him: it is intercepted thus despite his hard work and applause, — see Pluto in Gemini in the second house — he did not win any awards or get many monetary prizes, but his fans, were legion for he was translated into many languages. He died of cancer in January 1970 as quick as a wink, Mars in Sagittarius right near the cusp. It was a significant loss to poetry.

Luckily, there are the books to enjoy, though the video of Charlie reciting the “librarian” on YouTube was an unexpected find. It’s a pleasant touch to see pictures of 1960s Gloucester. It has been built up mightily since then, only the bronze Fisherman looking out to sea is a messenger of its whaling past.

As for Charlie? Charles Boer’s magnificent biography, Charles Olson in Connecticut, is a staple.



  • 1
    Thos. Carlyle, State of German Literature c. 1827
  • 2
    poeta nascitur non fit, Sir Philip Sidney c. 1581
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