Friday, September 11, 2009

(Tap) (tap) Is this thing on? Wordplay returns

Wordplay begins its fifth season this Sunday with a program featuring Black Mountain poet Charles Olson and Charles Boer, Olson's student and friend, and also his executor.

This summer, while I was in Storrs, Connecticut, delving into the Olson archives, I had the pleasure of spending an evening talking with Boer - "The Professor", as some of his neighbors know him - about Olson, and about his own work as a translator and poet. Boer was a student of Olson's in Buffalo for the whole of Olson's tenure there, and went on to become a friend and supporter until Olson's death in 1970; it was Boer who helped make the arrangements for Olson to teach at the University of Connecticut in the fall of 1969, in what proved to be his last academic appointment.

After Olson's death, he served as executor of Olson's estate -- helping rescue, in the process, some of the material which has now found its way into the Olson archives.

Aside for his connection to Olson, Boer is a poet and scholar of real accomplishment; his translations of the Homeric Hymns and the Metamorphoses of Ovid rank with the most vital and useful of our era, and his own work is distinct and lively.

Listen this Sunday as Boer reflects on his friendship with Olson, and shares memories as well of Frank O'Hara, Louis Zukofsky, and others who helped define American poetry in the second half of the twentieth century.

And, thanks to the marvels of the recording technology of that era, we'll hear from Olson himself.

As you probably know, Wordplay's now at (there should be a "stream" button on the site by tomorrow), and airs at 6:00 PM. Though the station is internet-only for now (and may remain that way, given that new digital radio receivers can play internet radio streams), it's much more internet-capable than ... that other station, where Wordplay used to be produced. Though I didn't know it at the time, the other station's site supported streaming for a maximum of thirty listeners. Thirty. The new station's site can support many times that number, so you don't have to get there early.

Hope you'll tune in!


Microphone photo by wickman2k, from Photobucket.

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