Olson is not a "santo de mi devoción." I find "projective verse" rather derivative and pretentious. I also don't like that solemn tone and sense of self-importance. It is a luxury I have, since I'm in Spanish, not to have to deal with poets who don't appeal to me.
That being said, many people I respect revere him. That is fine.
But I wonder if it is a bit of a cult. There is extreme defensiveness around any critique of him, with open letters and stern denunciations. From my perspective now, I think of him as being important in mid-to-late 20th century circles, peaking about 40 years ago, but not as culturally central now to American poetics. Maybe this group of people cannot abide his (relative) eclipse? Demographically, I am talking about white men (but not only white) my age and older. There was a "gruppo" which formed to defend him, including Baraka. I haven't seen any women jump in to defend him, nor people younger than me. So it is people who fell under his sway when they were young and he was at the height of his prestige.
Really, it's fine for an influential figure to recede at times. It happens all the time. This does not mean his influence was for naught, but simply that his moment was in the past. I mean, even the language poets are in their 70s now. They don't hold excitement for me, even those I like the best.
O'Hara and Koch stand up better, but maybe because I always liked them more. I'm in that demographic too so I cannot cling to hard to my older opinions.
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