A new book of poems by Michael McClure is a cause for celebration. One of the readers at the historic Six Gallery reading, McClure has been an influential and inspired cultural presence in American literature for the past six decades. His poetry offers a radical aesthetic that is original and profound. In Persian Pony, his new book of poems, McClure writes with conviction and authority, addressing the metaphysical vision at the heart of his work with lyric precision. Persian [...read more...]
“He is such a sweeet paradox! Like most of Shelley and the late poems of D.H. Lawrence, McClure turns the phenomenal world inside out, seeking mind within mind.” —Diane di Prima
Michael McClure is a poetry legend. In this fresh collection of new poems, he continues his exploration of bio-romanticism, including an ongoing “grafting” experiment, growing new poems from fragments of older works. The book climaxes with “Song Heavy,” recounting McClure’s recent encounter with a beached whale and recalling his [...read more...]
Originally self-published in 1964 and long out of print, Ghost Tantras is one of Michael McClure’s signature works, a book mostly written in “beast language.” A mix of lyrical, guttural and laryngeal sound, lion roars, and a touch of detonated dada, this is one of his best-known but least available books, a deep well from which decades of poetry have drawn.
McClure’s inspiration has always been the animal consciousness that lives in mankind, and he has had a consistent message: [...read more...]
Mysteriosos and Other Poems, Michael McClure’s newest book of poetry, speaks of working toward freedom and beauty during a time of interminable war and the destruction of nature. In the introduction, McClure clarifies his playfulness with time, explaining how within the moment of his writing all moments and memories exist. His “willingness of unwearied senses to be what they perceive” as Anne Waldman says, “opens our perceptions.”
Included in this new collection are a long travel poem about India [...read more...]
This essential collection of Michael McClure’s poetry contains the most original, radical, and visionary work of a major poet who has been garnering acclaim and generating controversy for more than fifty years. Ranging from A Fist Full, published in 1957, through Swirls in Asphalt, a new poem sequence, Of Indigo and Saffron is both an excellent introduction to this unique American voice and an impressive selection from McClure’s landmark volumes for those already familiar with his boldly inventive work. One [...read more...]
First published by Talonbooks in 1985, Specks was published in a new edition in 2012, with an new introduction by Paul Nelson.
Michael McClure expands upon Charles Olson’s proprioceptive poetic with Aristotelian metaphysics, Lorca’s duende, environmental awareness, and biological exploration.
Specks assumes the form of a blastula, offering a poetic model of embryonic development that arises from the cellular division known as “cleavage.” It presents groupings of ideas that mimic and challenge one another in a deep biological state. With [...read more...]
“In McClure’s poems, the shapes are abstractions like DNA (statement of relation and in some poems one-word centered lines on a page) which as a language can’t ever be the same as the object (such as ‘black lily’). Yet he breaks down a distinction between text as object and the phenomenal object of ‘black lilies’ (words), and physical sensation (of the ‘speaker’ or reader of these words)…
He transposes (enacts) the (comic book bubble) language of his poetry as theater; [...read more...]
“Rain Mirror,” writes Michael McClure, stands as my most bare and forthright book. It contains two long poems, ‘Haiku Edge’ and ‘Crisis Blossom,’ which are quite disparate from one another.” Together, the poems complement each other as so light and dark.
“Haiku Edge” is a poem of linked haiku, often humorous, sometimes harsh, and always elegant. “Crisis Blossom,” in contrast, is a long poem in three parts that records the author’s “state of psyche, capillaries, muscles, fears, boldnesses, and hungers [...read more...]
“Beat poets McClure [and others] caused a great seismic shift in literature with their fresh and liberated approaches to language and focus on the chimerical workings of the mind. Their meditative perspectives led not only to revolutionary poetry but to sustained and beautifully articulated Buddhist practices. In his new collection, McClure presents a series of dharma devotions — lithely observant and gently philosophical musings — that flow down the center of elongated pages like brooks, tree trunks, reeds, [...read more...]
HUGE DREAMS brings back two books, long out of print, that are a cornerstone of the Beat movement.
For the first time in one volume, The New Book / A Book of Torture and Star present vividly contrasting sides of poetry’s consciousness. In The New Book / A Book of Torture, a classic example of immediate biological expression, Michael McClure simultaneously delves into, and delivers himself from, the self-christened “dark night of the soul.” Star, a book of [...read more...]
Penguin Poets presents “Dolphin Skull,” Michael McClure’s newest long poem of the imagination, published here for the first time with two of McClure’s earlier works. Spontaneously written with long gazes into the unconscious, it is also an exploration of the fullness of memory in the present moment.
In “Rare Angel,” MClure uses his totem animals of sea and land to write a vivid environmental poem, a work of the present that stretches back in time as well as vividly out [...read more...]
“Without McClure’s roar there would have been no sixties, and it has not diminished,” wrote Dennis Hopper. Over the past four decades, Michael McClure has been at the center of the “New American” artistic storm—as a major innovative poet, and also as a playwright, novelist, lyricist, and environmentalist.
Lighting the Corners: On Art, Nature, and the Visionary draws together McClure’s crucial essays and interviews (many previously unpublished) ranging through such subjects as poetry as a “muscular principle,” theatre, the Beat [...read more...]
Rebel Lions, Michael McClure’s first book of poetry since the retrospective Selected Poems (1985), spans a decade of profound personal change and poetic evolution for the author. In an introductory note, he provides a backdrop for the collection, which moves from old life to new. McClure’s work bursts forth from the matrix of the physical and spiritual. “Poetry is one of the edges of consciousness,” he asserts. “And consciousness is a real thing like the hoof of a deer [...read more...]
The running theme in Michael McClure’s Simple Eyes & Other Poems is: looking at the world directly. The results are often as disquieting a they are illuminating, whether he directs his unblinking gaze on the American cityscape, the landscapes of Mexico and Kenya, or the mind’s own terrain. In the long title poem, “Simple Eyes (Fields),” the stanzas on the Persian Gulf War bloom out of images of all wars the poet has known — “the spiritual wars, the napalm [...read more...]
“Poetry,” Michael McClure has said, “is not a system but is real events spoken of, or happening, in sounds.” And for thirty years, whether in his early “Dionysian” lyrics or his evolving “bio-alchemical” wisdom, his work has shown a ferocious energy and driving physicality. A poet of and for our time, his own formal structures—the shape of his poems and his highly charged breath-line—nevertheless look back to the classics, to the Provençal troubadours, and to the Romantic verse of Blake, [...read more...]
The play that made its debut as the greatest cause celebre in modern drama, The Beard is a bold and poetic work about two mythic figures in American culture—Jean Harlow and Billy the Kid.
“Almost as if two ghosts from two periods of the American past were speaking across decades to each other, and yet at the same time are present in our living room undressing themselves or speaking to us of the nature of seduction, the nature of attraction, [...read more...]
“NOW IT IS TIME FOR A NATION,/…a spiritual nation/based/and formed on open freedom,/on flesh and biology…” The antipolitical activism, biologically based aesthetics, and exuberantly sensuous spirituality that have won Michael McClure acclaim since the birth of the San Francisco poetry renaissance in 1955 are affirmed with new range and eloquence in Fragments of Perseus.
The title poem presents fragments of an imaginary journal by Perseus, son of Zeus and Danae, slayer of the snake-haired Medusa, and husband of Andromeda. [...read more...]
In this collection of essays, poet anad playwright Michael McClure reviews his own career and the contributions of his contemporaries over the past three decades to develop a new perception of art as a living “bio-alchemical organism.”
Included are poems by Charles Olson, Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Whalen, Robert Creeley, Jack Kerouac, Hart Crane, and others, as well as selections from McClure’s own work. The poems, selected with remarkable sensitivity, form integral parts of the arguments advanced in the [...read more...]
Michael McClure’s Josephine: The Mouse Singer, a play in verse, is based on a story of Franz Kafka’s, “Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk.” Kafka and McClure? And yet the combination is bound to work, for in essence both writers in their different ways ponder the trials of the artist in an arbitrary universe. McClure’s exuberant, inspired adaptation, in fact, reminds us of the bizarre whimseys Kafka’s tales were originally intended to be.
The first New York production [...read more...]
Antechamber and Other Poems joins a growing list of contributions that includes the verse collection September Blackberries (1974) and Jaguar Skies (1975) as well as the musical play Gorf (1976). His writing in recent years is “alchemical” in its intent, yet his twin declarations, “Biology is Politics” and “I Am A Mammal Patriot,” perhaps express more accurately both the universality of his outlook and its human particularity.
McClure’s mysticism is vigorously scientific. Even the familiar patterned shapes of his poems [...read more...]
“Perhaps the crux of all writing is to find the word that describes what the eye has seen and the mind imagined,” says Josephson Nicholson in Rolling Stone. “Judged on that basis, Michael McClure’s . . . most recent books are as good as anything going. Their advantage is Sheer Scope.”
In Jaguar Skies McClure reaffirms the biological intelligence, indeed the active principle, at the heart of his own work. As the book demonstrates so clearly, the exuberant resonances [...read more...]
Readers of Michael McClure’s play Gorf may be reminded of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi, even if dancing TV sets and the “Middle American” protagonists Mert and Gert bring the surreal effect down to native ground. On another level, Gorf is a ritual of regeneration, or, if you like, a kind of spiritualized Hellzapoppiin. The “murdered” Mert and Gert and reborn in the search for their child, the Shitfer, who disintegrated when “hurled through Time and Space,” is resurrected [...read more...]
Biochemical investigations—concerns with the shapes and meanings of bodies— are inseparable from poetics. Experience in all times and spaces is the mainstream. The ability to sensorially perceive without the constraint of traditional, modern proportions is the joy of the yogin, the adept, the poet, and the scientist of meat.
Michael McClure’s foreword:
“Rare Angel tracks vertically on the page and is Oriental in that way. The selves that compromise our whole being may play over this poem, as if [...read more...]
“Poetry and theatre are organisms and biological extensions of the artist,” says Michael McClure. “My unusual line and shape of poems is a feedback between poems as living beings and knowledge of traditional shapes. I believe in inspiration. I am especially fond of wild flowers, mastodons, and stars.”
In September Blackberries, a collection of seventy-five of his recent poems, McClure demonstrates this “bio-alchemical” aesthetic with his usual prodigious verbal energy. Readers familiar with the work of the Beat Generation [...read more...]
The plays in this book were written during the same period as DARK BROWN and in the same manner — THE BLOSSOM was written spontaneously after “three days of careful preparation”. Together they form the catalyst for later work — the first use of grahhr language in THE FEAST and the involvement with Billy the Kid in THE BLOSSOM.
Read as poetry (“projective verse turned to theater”) these dramas, in the same way as DARK BROWN, explode the traditional separation [...read more...]
Nicholas, the hero-narrator of The Adept, begins his story with an assault on the reader in the form of a paraphrase of Charles Baudelaire. Nicholas is “a healthy full-grown adult male animal with air down past his shoulders and a fine set of muscles.” He spends his days in meditation, turned on by drugs and sex. Nicholas supports himself pushing cocaine. The scene moves back and forth from Greenwich Village to a jet flight to the Arizona desert in [...read more...]
Michael McClure, San Francisco poet, novelist and playwright, has created a new form, the “Gargoyle Cartoon”—a short, mad, whimsical, funny, incisive one-act play. This series of eleven plays includes Spider Rabbit, The Meatball, Apple Glove, The Cherub, The Authentic Radio Life of Bruce Connner and Snoutburbler, and six others. John Wasserman, in the San Francisco Chronicle, says McClure is “doing to words what avant-garde musicians are doing to melody.” The characters are creatures: ogres, [...read more...]
The poetry of Michael McClure is a highly personal statement, moving from the visionary to the polemical, the abstract to the graphic, a poetry which Allen Ginsberg called “a blob of protoplasmic energy.” His style manifests itself in eccentric punctuation, capital letters, and “beast” sounds; words become action, forcing the objects of his poems into abstraction or materializing themselves into forms.
In this new collection of poems, McClure again demonstrates the unique quality which led the London Times Literary Supplement [...read more...]
Captain Nowhere is a man of genius and heroic components. He is also a sexual fetishist, a religious visionary and a dope freak. Captain Nowhere goes through sexual changes as rapidly as he runs through life. Propelled by drugs, sex and the fantastic pulse of his own existence, he explores the possibilities of America, until he has eliminated all but one… [Bantam Books description, 1970]
The Mad Cub, first published in 1970, is a sexual coming-of-age tale, illustrating how [...read more...]
“Michael McClure’s The Beard is a mysterious piece of work, for while its surface seems simple, repetitive and obscene, there is an action working which is dramatic and comic at once, and the play emits an odd but intense field of attention…” —Norman Mailer, (from his Introduction)
“The Beard is a milestone in the history of heterosexual art.” —Kenneth Tynan
“…juicy & exuberant…” —Allen Ginsberg
“The dialogue throughout makes ‘Virginia Woolf’ almost a Sunday school recitation by comparison. [...read more...]
The poetry of Michael McClure is a highly personal statement, moving from the visionary to the polemical, the abstract to the graphic. His freedom of style, eccentric punctuation, and use of capital letters are an intrinsic part of his emphatic gesture; words become action, forcing objects into abstraction or materializing words into forms.
Of his poetry, McClure writes: “I want a writing of the Emotions, intellect and physiology. The direct emotional statement from the body (from the organs and from [...read more...]
“The poems in Dark Brown try to use words as “Part of physiology” and as a way to shed secrecy, mystery, self-protection and self-censorship and to expose the vulnerable “spiritmeat” of the self. The poetic action is now largely made up of assertions and assertive exclamations within the action-poem structure. Mr. McClure is still exploring consciousness: “no ease to truth. I half admit it”. But now the continuous invention catches up with his new dialectic between change and “the black [...read more...]
Michael McClure’s first book, Passage was published by Jonathan Williams in Big Sur. It includes six poems.
Publisher: Jonathan Williams
Published as Jargon 20.