Looking to get yourself in a literary mood for next week’s Boston Book Fest? Spend Columbus Day weekend in Gloucester, celebrating the birth of Charles Olson, one of Massachusetts’s great modernist poets.

At the time of his death in 1970, Olson was still penning “The Maximus Poems.” The work—inspired by Ezra Pound’s “Cantos”is told in the voice of Maximus (a combination between the Greek philosopher and Olson himself) and is both an exploration of American history and focused on Massachusetts and Gloucester specifically. The Los Angeles Times said it was “probably the most ambitious poem ever written by an American.”

The Charles Olson Society and other groups, including the Cape Ann Museum, have put together a series of events to commemorate the centennial of Olson’s birth.

Head to downtown Gloucester between Friday, October 8 and Sunday, October 10 to join in on the celebration. Some of the major events include a showing of “Polis Is This: Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place” (10/9, 3 PM), narrated by John Malkovich and called “the best film about an American poet ever made” by the Boston Phoenix; a reading by San Francisco’s Poet Laureate, Diane di Prima (10/9, 7 PM); and a Maximus Walk with readings by Kevin Gallagher, David Rich, Henry Ferrini, and Peter Anastas (10/10, 11 AM). There will also be other readings and town meeting-type discussions. Events are free and open to the public, but donations of $5 are encouraged for certain events.

For a complete list of events and locations, check out http://olson100.blogspot.com/.

About The Author

Jess Huckins is a Blast correspondent

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