AROUND CAPE ANN: Love letters focus of Olson lecture | News

AROUND CAPE ANN: Love letters focus of Olson lecture | News

The work of the late Charles Olson, a 20th century American poet who made Gloucester his home, still makes ripples around the world.

In that spirit, the annual Charles Olson Lecture will take place on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 1 p.m. at the Cape Ann Museum auditorium at 27 Pleasant St., in downtown Gloucester. The talk is free to the public but reservations are required. The lecture also will be live-streamed on Facebook and Vimeo.

The featured speaker will be Sharon Thesen, a poet and scholar, who will give a talk titled “Olson & Love: The Transformative Correspondence of Charles Olson and Frances Boldereff.” Thesen will talk about working with Ralph Maud on the pair’s correspondence for which there are two editions: “A Modern Correspondence,” published by Wesleyan in 1999, and “After Completion: The Later Letters,” published in 2014.

“In this lecture, Thesen will show how Olson’s love affair with Frances Boldereff set his compass intellectually in his move toward the recovery of what could be found in the archaic as a guide or inspiration for a new poetics,” according to the museum.

Thesen, who grew up in western Canada, attended Simon Fraser University in British Columbia where she studied poetry with Robin Blaser, George Bowering, and Maud. She later began teaching English and creative writing. This lecture is presented in collaboration with the Gloucester Writers Center.

Olson, a literary giant in the post-modern realm, created a personal library of massive proportions at his home at 28 Fort Square in Gloucester. That library is now housed at the University of Connecticut, along with other Olson papers. Maud created a near duplicate of Olson’s library, which was later given to the Gloucester Writers Center. Earlier this year, the Gloucester Writers Center donated the Maud/Olson Library to the Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives. This is a collection of 4,000 volumes owned, read, or referenced by Charles Olson. The library is now housed within the Janet & William Ellery James Center at the CAM Green.

To mark this new acquisition, the museum will offer a tour of the Maud/Olson Library at the CAM Green,13 Poplar St., on Oct. 29 at 11 a.m. The library is situated next to the Vincent Ferrini Library. Attendees registered for the 1 p.m. talk are welcome to join the tour at 11 a.m. To register and for more details, visit

Halloween party

The Knowles Halloween Bash, open to the public, takes place Thursday, Oct. 27, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Gloucester Elks, at 101 Atlantic Road on Gloucester’s Back Shore. Costumes encouraged for those wanting to dress up but are not required. There will be food, cash bar and live music from Tregony Bow. Tickets are $20. For details and advance tickets, go to Kenneth J. Knowles’ Facebook page. Tickets also at the door.

Musicians Unleashed

Cape Ann Symphony announces the return of its popular Musicians Unleashed Concert Series with its next performance, “American Classical Music,” on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 3 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 10 Church St., Gloucester.

“We wanted to put together a program of great music that reflects the vast and wide diversity of peoples and cultures that have made up and continue to make up our great country of America” said Cape Ann Symphony Conductor Yoichi Udagawa.

The concert program features an array of musical styles, from Dvorak to the Grateful Dead. Selections include works by Florence Price, Cape Ann Symphony Concertmaster and violinist Scott Moore, William Grant Still, and Rachel Grimes. The concert will be performed by Cape Ann Symphony violinist Erica Pisaturo, cellist Seth MacLeod and violist Brandon White as well as Moore.

Udagawa said he is thrilled that the audiences will get a chance to hear and meet the new concertmaster.

“Scott Moore is a fabulous violinist who plays at an incredibly high level in all kinds of styles from classical music to Kentucky Bluegrass,” he said.

For more information and tickets, visit

NPR Tiny Desk Contest winner

The 2022 NPR Tiny Desk Contest winner, Alisa Amador, will perform on Friday, Oct. 28, at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Old Sloop Presents performing arts series, held at the handicap-accessible Fellowship Hall of the First Congregational Church of Rockport, 12 School St.

Amador’s music is known for its synthesis of many styles, including rock, jazz, funk and alternative folk, wrapped in the spirit of Latin music. NPR’s Cyrena Touros calls her “a pitch-perfect rendition of my wildest dreams.”

The opener will be Hayley Sabella, who was born in Massachusetts but raised in Nicaragua. She won the 2019 New England Songwriting Competition.

For tickets and information, visit

Classic films, live music

The Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation presents an afternoon of classic silent movies this Sunday, Oct. 30, at 3 pm. at the Gloucester Meetinghouse at the corner of Church and Middle streets with live keyboard accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis.

This family-friendly afternoon will feature three works from the early era of cinematic history presented on a large screen with Rapsis infusing his interpretations of this lost technique. The films, with non-stop action and knee-slapping comedy routines, were selected for their wide appeal.

The films are:

“The Haunted House” (1921) with Buster Keaton. A gang of robbers, a crooked bank manager, and a bank teller converge on a booby-trapped house decorated to appear haunted in order to fool the authorities. A series of uproarious encounters between the antagonists leaves the audience wondering who the true villain really is.

“The Floorwalker” (1916) with Charlie Chaplin in his signature role as “The Tramp.” This early comedy features “gags galore” with an early version of an attempt to run down the up escalator and one character mirroring the movements of another.

“The Kid” (1921), which was written and directed by Chaplin. He plays the role of “The Tramp” who cares for a young boy whose mother left him for adoption. The three’s lives become intertwined in this heartwarming story of reconciliation.

Tickets are available online at, or at the door. General seating $15; students with ID $5; children under 12 free.

Yellow Brick Road party

The Studio restaurant, at 51 Rocky Neck Ave. in Gloucester, will close out the season by presenting a Wizard of Oz-themed Halloween event on Sunday, Oct. 30, when the team will be decked out as their favorite characters. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. to midnight.

“At Smith Cove’s own Emerald City, country crooner Annie Brobst will serenade scarecrows from 6 to 9 p.m. while the bar mixes up some potent potions,” according to a press release. Some of those libations feature The Studio’s “Oz-twist” on a rum runner, or a “Brain Shot” made with peach schnapps, Bailey’s Irish Cream and grenadine.

In an added note, the restaurant team is rallying around a fund-raiser by Sal Valenti, the sous chef, whose 10-month old dog, Trager, needs an unexpected surgery on his leg estimated to cost $8,000. To help defray the costs, a baseball signed by recent Hall of Fame inductee David “Big Papi” Ortiz as well as a signed Patriots jersey by running back LeGarrette Blount will be auctioned off. Both items will be available for bidding onsite on Oct. 30. There is a fundraiser page also on Sal Valenti’s Facebook page.

Irish folk singer

Tommy Sands, an Irish troubadour and peace activist, is performing “Music of Peace and Healing” at First Church in Ipswich, at 1 Meetinghouse Green, on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 3 p.m. This is a free presentation of the House of Peace in Ipswich.

Gloucester’s Michael O’Leary, vocals, and Carol McIntyre, harp, will open the program; Pierce Woodward, fiddle, and Harry Wagg, guitar, will welcome concertgoers with a set of fiddle tunes in the foyer before the show. For more information, visit

Around Cape Ann is a column devoted to events happening on Cape Ann and artists from Cape Ann performing elsewhere. If you would like to submit an item, contact reporter Gail McCarthy at 978-675-2706 or at least two weeks in advance.

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