Charles Olson’s first two books, Call Me Ishmael (1947), a study of Melville’s Moby Dick, and The Mayan Letters (1953), written to Robert Creeley from Mexico, cover a range of subjects?mythology, anthropology, language, and cultural history?and use the fervent informal style that were to distinguish all his discursive prose. Settling in Gloucester, Massachusetts, he devoted most of his time and energy until his death in 1970 to The Maximus Poems, his most substantial work.
Ralph Maud is the author of Charles Olson Reading (1996) and the editor of The Selected Letters of Charles Olson (2000.) He has edited much of Dylan Thomas’s work, including The Notebook Poems 1930?1934 and The Broadcasts, and is co-editor, with Walford Davies, of Dylan Thomas: The Collected Poems, 1934?1953 and Under Milk Wood. Maud is also the editor of The Salish People: Volumes I, II, III & IV by pioneer ethnographer Charles Hill-Tout. In addition, he has done extensive work on the translation collaboration between Henry W. Tate and Franz Boas, including the book, Transmission Difficulties: Franz Boas and Tsimshian Mythology.