UHV to host screening, talk about poet Charles Olson

“Polis is This” is considered the greatest film about a poet, portraying the life of the innovative Charles Olson, and community members will have an opportunity to watch it April 27 and learn more about him.

Charles Alexander

“Unlike most Meet the Poet events, this presentation will feature a screening of the documentary ‘Polis is This’ followed by a discussion about the poet Charles Olson,” said Charles Alexander, University of Houston-Victoria poet and designer in residence. “This film combines imaginative camera sequences and interviews with other writers and poets that help form the life of Charles Olson and the place, or home, he knew.”

Alexander is collaborating with colleagues Cynthia Miller and Kyle Schlesinger to host the screening and discussion of Olson’s poetry on April 27. “Meet the Poet: Charles Olson” will take place at 7 p.m. in the UHV Center for the Arts, 204 N. Main St. The event is free and open to the public.

“Olson’s work emphasized geography, not as an academic approach to poetry, but one that compels others’ being and living in a geographic area,” Alexander said. “Anyone who can relate to their own connection to a certain place, wherever it may be, will enjoy this film.”

The UHV School of Arts & Sciences graduate creative writing program’s series has featured presentations about other poets including William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Rumi and the American poet Hilda Doolittle, known as “H.D.” The upcoming presentation will focus on Olson’s work and his belief in the significance of place and landscape in poetry.

Kyle Schlesinger
Kyle Schlesinger

“I look forward to speaking about Olson, one of the towering figures of twentieth-century poetry,” said Kyle Schlesinger, UHV associate professor of publishing and co-director of the graduate publishing program. “His poetics include topics related to poetry, politics and the significance of living in the landscape an individual resides in, and in Olson’s perspective, a local, home-grown aspect.”

Olson’s work tends to explore social, historical and political concerns, and it presents itself on the page almost as a field of information, Schlesinger said. His poems present a new way of thinking based on his connection to places and landscapes.

Cynthia Miller

UHV faculty members and poets Alexander, Schlesinger and Miller will discuss the work of Olson in a post-screening question-and-answer discussion with the audience. The intention is to educate and inspire the people who come to the event, Alexander said.

“Charles Olson is one of the most interesting American male poets of modern time,” said Miller, UHV artist in residence. “This film inspires others to not just live in the place where we dwell but to really see it, in all its histories, archaeologies and meanings. His poetic eye in writing about the concept of place echoes into the greater art world.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Ashley Strevel 361-570-4342