TILLA BRADING: Breath from the Black Mountains.

Regarding Olson’s idea of the use of breath to determine line lengths, I am on the side of John Cage. Cage knew Olson from Black Mountain College but (says Fetterman (1996), when asked if he was using such a framework said that he did not really understand what Olson meant at the time but later said he liked it.

Before we look more closely at ‘breath’, it puts the idea in context to check out some life-line comparisons between the two writers who are the subject of this short exploration: Charles Olson who lived from 1910-1970, enjoyed some years parallel to David Jones’ span of 1895-1974.

In this paper of slightly glissando comparisons between the authors I have not yet found any reference by either of them to each other’s work yet I believe they were independently ploughing some similar furrows.


To read the rest of this paper, click here: Breath from the Black Mountains


Tilla Brading is a poet, performer and textual artist who has taught creative writing as well as working most of her life with students who have a variety of Learning Difficulties. From the experience of her up-bringing on a hill farm in Ystradfellte, Powys, using its people and situations, her work has evolved towards a freer exploration of language, semantics, performance and the visual. Starting points may be from texts, landscape, history, the news or anything that can weave, meld and fray into a termination if not a completion. She was joint editor of Odyssey Press / PQR (Poetry Quarterly Review) and assistant custodian of the cottage where Coleridge lived in Nether Stowey, Somerset. Her work which has included collaboration and improvisations has appeared in a variety of books, magazines, projects and on-line.


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