Michael McClure, reading at Moe’s in Berkeley

May 19, 2010

Michael read to a partisan crowd at the legendary Moe’s Books in Berkeley on Wednesday, May 19, 2010. The audio available here, skips past the introduction and the assorted GRAHHRS offered by the audience as Michael is welcomed to the mic.

He read from his latest, Mysteriosos, which John Olson reviewed here. McClure is revealed at the top of his game with this book and the reading confirms it. Charles Olson articulated the process of composition which has enabled McClure’s stunning gesture in his essay Projective Verse, Olson was not able to accomplish what McClure has done. McClure started writing projectively in the 1950’s at about age 22 and 55 years later, continues to mine this process, writing some of his best work.

Olson, on the other hand, died at 60 after coming to poetry later in life and knew he needed another ten years to accomplish what he had set out to do.

Likewise, Robert Duncan, another one of McClure’s guides, took a 15 year break from publishing to reveal Ground Work: Before the War / In The Dark, a project which did not have the same energy and potency of three earlier books, The Opening of the Field, Roots and Branches and Bending the Bow.

My review of Mysteriosos is forthcoming in the Pacific Rim Review of Books, but in the meantime, enjoy the audio of McClure in Berkeley, and remember that you are an animal connected to everything that was with the power to shape that which will be.

(More on my take on Projective Verse is available here.)

About Splabman

Poet/interviewer Paul Nelson: Founded: SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) & the Cascadia Poetry Festival Wrote: American Sentences (2015), A Time Before Slaughter (2010) and Organic in Cascadia: A Sequence of Energies (Lumme Editions, Brazil, 2013). His 2015 interview with José Kozer was published in 2016 (Ranchos Press) as Tiovivo Tres Amigos. Interviewed: Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Joanne Kyger, Robin Blaser, Anne Waldman, Ed Sanders, Diane di Prima, Nate Mackey, George Bowering, Brenda Hillman, among others and is engaged in a 20 year bioregional cultural investigation of Cascadia, including the festival, a MOOC (Innovative Cascadia Poetry), interviews with Cascadia poets indigenous elders and activists, and the anthology Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia. Paul is co-editor of that anthology as well as 56 Days of August the poetry postcard anthology and writes an American Sentence daily. *MOOC = Massive Open Online Course
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