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RIP Michael McClure – A Beat Poet, San Francsico Renaissance

  • Michael McClure helped launch the SF Renaissance dead at 87

    Michael was incredibly gracious, erudite, and totally dedicated to the poet’s calling,” said Elaine Katzenberger, publisher of City Lights, which put out McClure’s works going all the way back to 1963’s “Meat Science Essays.” “He was a sometimes-trickster, most definitely a provocateur, and yet, quite solicitous and patient, a sage who was beautiful inside and out.”

    That first public reading for McClure, then 22 years old, was overshadowed by the introduction of “Howl,” by Allen Ginsberg. But McClure outlasted all of the Beats in a career that spanned more than 60 years. He published more than 30 books of poetry, plays and anthologies, most recently 2017’s “Persian Pony” and 2016’s “Mephistos and other Poems,” the latter anchored by a poem that took him 16 years to write.

  • M.McClure
    via

    Like Snyder and Whalen and Ginsberg and Kerouac, his work has always had affinities with Eastern religion and mysticism, but he brings an emphatic and declarative style to his transcendent, arching, naturalistic vision.

  • The Air

    for Robert [Duncan] and Jess [Collins]

    Clumsy, astonished. Puzzled
    as the gazelle cracked
    in my forepaws/

    The light body twitches/

    A slight breeze moves among whiskers.

    The air curves itself to song
    A trace, a scent lost among whiskers.
    A form carved in the air
    and lost by eye or ear.
    The herd’s thunder or the whack
    of a tail on earth
    evident only in dim vibration
    less than a whirr of brush (and bushes).
    Not a sound in a flat stone.
    (Less than a fly
    about the ears.)
    An object, a voice, an odor.
    A grain moving before the eyes.
    A rising of gases/
    An object/
    An instant/Tiny, brighter
    than sunlight.

    The sound of a herd. The sound of a rock/
    A passing.
    Michael McClure

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