Gloucester Writers Center
Ralph Maud’s Collection of Charles Olson’s Books
Charles Olson was an acclaimed poet who lived in and wrote about Gloucester. He is considered one of the major poets of the 20th century, and had a profound influence on many contemporary poets, including Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, Denise Levertov, Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, and Ed Dorn. Olson studies have continued into the 21st Century, with new discoveries and revised assessments by scholars in the Americas, Europe, and the Far East.
Ralph Maud (1928-2014) was a friend of Charles Olson, the leading authority on Olson’s life and work, and professor of English at Simon Fraser University. He was interested in the sources that informed Olson’s poetry, and undertook the ambitious task of identifying and collecting a copy of every book that Olson owned, read, or referred to. His book Olson’s Reading is a key text in Olson studies. By the time of Maud’s death, his collection of source materials had grown to a library of over 4000 volumes. According to Maud’s wishes, the collection is now entrusted to the stewardship of the Gloucester Writers Center, and is housed at 108 East Main Street, in Gloucester.
The Maud/Olson Library is a non-circulating collection that reflects Olson’s deep devotion to Gloucester and New England and ultimately to the planet as a whole.
Visitors are invited to sit at Olson’s desk overlooking Gloucester Harbor and read the books that interested, intrigued and inspired Charles Olson.