The Maximus Poems

Artist Statement

I moved to Gloucester in 1995 for four months. I am still there and still trying to understand why I fell for it so and why it is the only place I have ever felt at home. I decided to read Charles Olson’s epic poem focusing on Gloucester, the Maximus Poems, and to transcribe it, immersing myself in it physically as well as visually and intellectually. I hoped his homage to the city might help me understand. That transcription is To Gloucester with Love.

Hand copying is a process I had used extensively with Kafka’s writings. Transcribing turns words and the letters they contain into purely visual forms carrying a mystery within them. I find text beautiful as image, and writing by hand a means of research.

After the two years I spent transcribing the Maximus Poems, I did not and still don’t know why Gloucester has such magic for me, but I gained a deep sense of yet another artist’s obsession with the land and sea Gloucester encompasses. To Gloucester with Love is my ode to Olson and his passion, and to Gloucester through him. He said so well what we have, have already lost, and still can lose in this wonderful city, in the greater world,  and in our own lives. He spoke of the local and addressed the universal. I have respect and awe for Olson’s momentous work, and this piece is my attempt to communicate the depth and profundity of his great work of art.