John Olson (poet and writer)

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John Olson (born August 23, 1947 in Minneapolis, Minnesota) is an American poet and novelist. Olson has lived for many years in Seattle, Washington. He has published nine collections of poetry and three novels, including Souls of Wind, nominated for the 2008 Believer Book Award.[1] In 2004, Seattle’s weekly newspaper, The Stranger, for whom he has written occasional essays, gave Olson one of its annual "genius awards."[2] His writing notebooks have been exhibited at the University of Washington.[3] Olson's prose poetry has been reviewed in print and online poetry magazines.[4][5][6] The poet Philip Lamantia said that Olson was "extraordinary...the greatest prose poetry [i've] ever read."[7] and Clayton Eshleman said "he is writing the most outlandish, strange, and inventive prose poetry ever in the history of the prose poem." [8]



  • Swarm of Edges (Seattle: bcc press, 1996)
  • Logo Lagoon (San Diego: Paper Brain Press, 1999)
  • Eggs & Mirrors (Seattle: Wood Works Press, 1999)
  • Echo Regime (New York: Black Square Editions, 2000) (lineated poetry)[9]
  • Free Stream Velocity (New York: Black Square Editions, 2003)[10]
  • Oxbow Kazoo (Lawrence, Kansas: First Intensity Press, 2005)[11]
  • The Night I Dropped Shakespeare On The Cat (New York: Calamari Press, 2006)[12]
  • Backscatter: New and Selected Poems (Boston: Black Widow Press, 2008)][13]
  • Larynx Galaxy (Boston: Black Widow Press, 2012)


  • Souls of Wind (Quale Press, 2008)[14]
  • The Nothing That Is (Ravenna Press, 2010)[15]
  • The Seeing Machine (Quale Press, 2012)[16]


  • "Lightning on Paper: Poetry Is The Drug Of Choice" The Stranger, Oct 19–Oct 25, 2000 issue[17]
  • "Gutenberg Blues", published online by "the glade of theoric ornithic hermetica"[18]
  • "A Garden In The Pocket", published online by "the glade of theoric ornithic hermetica"[19]
  • "Extreme Reading", published online by "the glade of theoric ornithic hermetica"[20]


External links[edit]