This is one of the most unusual poetry books I've read. The poems Olson published in his lifetime were a fraction of what he wrote. In this volume, editor George Butterick interleafs nearly all the surviving typescripts with the poems from Olson's previously published collections, creating a giant single edition that runs to over 600 pages. On the plus side, you get the chance to discover a new Olson through reading his poems, most published here for the first time, in the order he wrote them. The downside is that the 'historical' Olson, who along with Allen Ginsberg electrified American outsider poetry in the '50s and '60s, tends to get choked off in all the false starts, toss-offs and unfinished fragments that few of his contemporaries ever saw. Since the notes at the end don't give the page numbers of the poems they refer to, it's a hassle to sort out which poems appeared in which collections, if any. Butterick's thirty-year care and feeding of Olson's work has to be one of the greatest editorial romances of all time, and his openness in letting you decide which poems are good or not is democratic. But it also demands a lot of unnecessary work (why not a separate section of unpublished poems?) that might leave you wondering if Olson's worth the effort. Robert Creeley's shorter "Selected Poems" are a better bet if you want a quicker overview, and Butterick's edition of the Maximus poems probably catches Olson at his best. But his risk in presenting Olson like this is true to the spirit of the poetry. An outsized book for an outsized man.