KJ: I have the impression that Olson made a big impact on you.
IS: Very big impact. He became the major figure for me and a number of people, so that when we began publishing magazines, he was a kind of looming presence. We published sections from the Maximus poems. It was the sense of somebody - a very, very large presence, obviously, a drama of his own persona, a sense of somebody nailing down a sea town and opening it up to the world. And being pretentious students, the list of reading matter was very exciting, I loved all that.
KJ: Suicide Bridge must surely be the first work of literature to pick up on the work of Stephen Hawking.
IS: Again, that's from [the poet] Jeremy Prynne. What happened was that, through these conversations I had been having with Prynne, my whole notion of who the Illuminati of the culture were changed completely. I realised that at Caius College at one point there's been Francis Crick, Stephen Hawking, and Prynne. When I once went to visit Prynne there was a typescript on his desk of Hawking's Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, which looked to me like an Egyptian manuscript. It was all hieroglyphics and symbols. Prynne was sort of translating this, working on it in some way. A poet doing this! The same person who had helped to edit and organise late Olson! I thought that this was very extraordinary, and realised that the worlds of science and literature were, at that point, engaged in an interesting dialogue, most of which was based on Cambridge.
Rupert Sheldrake came along, with his mystical take on Morphic Resonance, which I enjoyed very much. [Laughs] He acknowledges Prynne as well, in his book. And Prynne got Crick in touch with Michael McClure, say, and there was a real area of sympathy between what Crick was working on at the time and the sort of poetic that McClure was exploring - psilocybin demons of animals. It was a very, very intriguing time.