Charles Olson (1910-70) believed that poetry exists in an 'open field' through which the poet transmits energy to the receptive reader. Olson's influence on the development of British and American poetry through his writing and teaching is immense. His work encompasses myth, history, scholarship and politics, grand theories and delight in the particular variousness of life, all marked by the curiosity and openness to experience that he asked of his readers. Olson grew up and returned to live in the seafaring town of Gloucester, Massachusetts, and it was from the life and language of its citizens that his poetry drew its strengths. "The Reader" includes extracts from the full range of Olson's poetry and prose, including letters, interviews and the full text of the key essay 'Projective Verse'. Ralph Maud, a colleague of Olson's from 1963-5 and the editor of Olson's letters, has supplied an introduction, supporting illustrations, notes and bibliography to this essential resource.