Watch this short documentary about the influential, experimental Black Mountain College

Originally published at: Watch this short documentary about the influential, experimental Black Mountain College | Boing Boing


The blurb (pulled from Wikipedia?) is light on the poets who attended or taught there, and Black Mountain had a big influence on American poetry, one which continues into the present. Robert Creeley and Robert Duncan are probably the two most significant omissions.

The school had more problems than funding by the end. Drugs and alcohol took a major toll on the place. And other places with similar possibilities were emerging in more salubrious environments (like San Francisco). Also, I suspect that a lot of the Big Personalities who were influential at BM near the end, well, they didn’t fully understand or have what it takes to create a Bauhausy atmosphere. Olson, for one, was pretty destructive. He was good at maintaining a coterie of fan-boys, but he was (to be frank) an abusive, misogynist alchoholic.


The only famous faculty/alumni I recognized was Buckminister Fuller.

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Obviously not exactly the same, but dont places like Bennington college and Evergreen State scratch a similar itch?

It sounds like the model used at Dartington Hall


The school facility is not dead and gone. The buildings and property now house the twice a year music and arts festival. I started going when it was known as the Black Mt. Music Festival in the 80’s. It became Grey Eagle and Friends for a couple of years and then morphed into it’s current configuration as the Lake Eden Arts Festival aka LEAF. Very family friendly with lots of kid activities where it’s safe for them to run around the grounds on their own. I have a lot of great memories of hearing some wonderful world class bands on the field and dancing late at night in the dining hall and gym.


The teacher of my senior seminar in college was a Black Mountain alum. He often had tales to tell, and modeled our seminar on similar ones he participated in at Black Mountain. The ideas we kicked around in that seminar are still with me today, almost 30 years later.
I’m glad to see a little something about Black Mountain here.


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