Abstract

Abstract:

Through close readings of both published and draft versions of Charles Olson's 'The Kingfishers', this essay highlights Olson's exploitation of possibilities presented by post-WWII quantum physics and associated science, including in terms of feedback, mutability and reversible time. Qualifying historicist readings, the essay traces the influence of quantum physics on the poem's conceptualisations, metaphorical framework, and phonetic patterning. It then discusses why Olson excised this level of signification from the published version, stresses his pragmatic desire to use science as a means of extending and transforming poetic practice, and argues that he challenged culture-science binarisms more fundamentally than many contemporaries.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1471-6836
Print ISSN
0008-199X
Pages
pp. 324-345
Launched on MUSE
2020-01-25
Open Access
No
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