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The range of materials here collected is not evidence of "subjects" or of some preoccupation with any such term of argument. "Letter 15" notes that clearly enough: "He sd, 'You go all around the sub-


ject.' And I sd, 'I didn't know it was a subject . . .'" It is worth some thought.

Where one lives is a complex occasion, both inside and out. What we have as place is defined in "The Resistance," and, again, it is not only "existential." When a man walks down a street, he walks it only now —whether the date be 1860, 1960, or so-called centuries ago. History is a literal story, the activity of evidence.

In short, the world is not separable, and we are in it. The fact of "Apollonius of Tyana" is not then , so to speak—at some remove in time because its person is, as we might say, historical. Each moment is evidence of its own content, and all that is met with in it, is as present as anything else. Apollonius is a present instance.

The most insistent concern I find in Olson's writing is the intent to gain the particular experience of any possibility in life, so that no abstraction intervenes. "In Cold Hell, in Thicket" makes clear the difficulties, and "To Gerhardt, There, Among Europe's Things," the situation of the specifically American:

 . . . Or come here
where we will welcome you
with nothing but what is . . .

A dream is —as clearly as whatever else. The circumstance of "The Librarian" or "As the Dead Prey upon Us" will not be confusing to any who admit what they know to be a total content, rather than one divided by assumptions of understanding. "In dreams begin responsibilities . . ." I was moved on hearing Williams use that quotation from Yeats at the outset of his acceptance speech for the National Book Award in the early fifties. But it is not only "responsibilities," but also "This very thing you are . . ."

Meaning is not importantly referential . Reference may well prove relevant —but I can make myself clearer by quoting a sense of meaning which Olson used at the Berkeley Poetry Conference this past summer (1965): That which exists through itself is what is called meaning . He also noted, as a usable context for that "mapping" or measure of how one is where one is, these four terms:

Imago Mundi
Anima Mundi

By "earth" is meant all that literal ground we walk on and its specific character, including water and sky; by "Imago Mundi," that


way of seeing or view of existence evident in any particular circumstance of life; by "history," all the condition and accumulation of human acts and effects, as these exist; by "Anima Mundi," that which informs and quickens life in its own condition, the spirit—or what we speak of in saying, "the quick and the dead." I offer these simply as measure, for the relevance of what follows.

Placitas, New Mexico
October 3, 1965


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