SEMINAL POET FEATURED IN FILM ON WGBH
POLIS IS THIS – Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place (‘2007, 57m) The film traces Charles Olson’s process of self-discovery and makes it clear why Kerouac, Ginsberg and others traveled to the oldest fishing town in America to meet the father of literary post modernism.
A second-generation modernist and former political advisor to the administration of President F.D. Roosevelt, Olson forsook politics and turned to full-time writing in the final twenty-five years of his life. An outsized man of passionately held beliefs, expansive theories and ambitious projects, Olson was rector of the groundbreaking experimental art school Black Mountain College, Asheville, N.C. Today he is best known for his brilliant literary essays, letters and his massive epic The Maximus Poems. Devoting his life to preserving Gloucester, Massachusetts from suburban overdevelopment, Olson created a template for the artist as social and political activist. He was a huge influence on the Beat scribes of the 1950s and is credited with coining the term “postmodern.”
In Olson’s world the universal is the local without walls. Filmmakers Henry Ferrini and Ken Riaf surpass the challenges of containing this giant and his ideas in cinematic form while expanding our awareness of the role of the poet in his community. A generous amount of Olson footage, striding his 6’8” corpus about his beautifully photographed polis or engaging in the teacher’s art, we also meet the polis of this film: the artists – Amiri Baraka, Robert Creeley, Diane di Prima, Vincent Ferrini, Michael Rumaker, Pete Seeger, Ed Sanders, John Sinclair, Anne Waldman, Jonathan Williams, – and the locals who knew him. Hosted, after an Olsonesque fashion, by John Malkovich.
In this time of great change, Polis speaks of the will to change. Olson understood that the local was a deep source for understanding ourselves and solving contemporary problems Gloucester, Massachusetts as his lens. He wanted others to dig into their own place and encouraged us to think and act locally. Just imagine what shape we would be in if all our local banks didn’t sell their mortgages to the big boys? We all have something to learn from this overlooked poet.
National Poetry Month Presentation
Monday, March 30, 9pm New Jersey Network –2
Tuesday, April 1 8pm New Jersey Network –2
Tuesday, April 1 8pm WHUT, Washington, D.C
Sunday, April 5 7pm WGBH, Boston, MA
Friday, April 24 2:30am WNET, NYC
Friday, April 24 1pm WHYY, Philadelphia
contact: Henry Ferrini www.polisIsthis.com
Complete Screening Dates & Times http://polisisthis.com/screenings.html