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

SPLAB founder Paul Nelson wrote Organic Poetry (VDM Verlag, German, 2008) as well as a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, Washington, A Time Before Slaughter (Apprentice House, 2010). In 26 years of radio he interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, Wanda Coleman, George Bowering, Joanne Kyger, Jerome Rothenberg & others. Founder of the Cascadia Poetry Festival, recent publications on and off-line include: Hambone, Pageboy, Menacing Hedge, Fieralingue, Rain Taxi, Solitary Plover, the Soul of the Earth anthology, Along the Rim: The Best of the Pacific Rim Review (Vol 2), Inactual, Raft magazine and Golden Handcuffs Review. He lives in Seattle, won the 2014 Robin Blaser Award from the Capilano Review and writes at least one American Sentence every day.
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