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February 5, 2017 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
A landmark work of bio-romanticism, Mephistos and Other Poems is the first completely new collection in five years from legendary Beat and SF Renaissance poet Michael McClure, reflecting his interests in mammal consciousness and ecological survival. The title sequence stems from McClure’s ongoing “grafting” experiment, growing new poems from fragments of previously ones. Some Fringes is a series of haiku-like nature poems, while the seventeen-part Rose Breaths derives from the poet’s practice of meditation. The freestanding poems grouped under the title Being pay homage to many of McClure’s collaborators and fellow travelers like Bruce Conner, Terry Riley, and Dave Haselwood. The book climaxes with Song Heavy, recounting McClure’s recent encounter with a beached whale in Rockport, Massachusetts, and recalling his classic For the Death of 100 Whales, which he read at the Six Gallery in 1955, the inaugural moment of American eco-poetics.
Michael McClure is an award-winning American poet, playwright, songwriter, and novelist. After moving from Kansas to San Francisco as a young man, he was one of the five poets who participated in the Six Gallery reading that featured the public debut of Allen Ginsberg’s landmark poem Howl. A key figure of the Beat Generation, McClure is immortalized as Pat McLear in Jack Kerouac’s novels The Dharma Bums and Big Sur. He also participated in the sixties counterculture alongside musicians like Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. McClure remains active as a poet, essayist, and playwright and lives with his second wife, Amy, in the San Francisco Bay Area.