Looking for a quiet room with Michael McClure

The beats changed the face of western poetry to the rhythm of jazz and blows of innocence. They were rebels without a defined program and spiritual ones without religion. They grew fiercely like marijuana plants amid the neat cultivated fields of 1950s American poetry. Faced with academic rules they planted the mushrooms of ferocity, in the face of intellectualism they filled it with visions of the lowlands of the highways where it is trafficked illegally. The blast wave of their revolution is far from extinguished despite the fact that some became intensely old and died. Last year we said goodbye to Ferlinghetti, a few days ago Michael McClure said goodbye to us, that very young boy who in 1957 was part of the legendary number of “Evergreen Poetry” and “San Francisco Renaissance”, and who organized the mythical reading of the Six Gallery where beats were presented to the world.

McClure was always a poet with an original voice, an uncomfortable novelist and an extremely bold playwright, mythical in the firmament of the Californian scene. For McClure, literature is a matter of energy, of trapping and expressing the enormous energy that is in our body, in our words, in the matter of which the world is made. At the beginning of his work he had a ticket to travel through the psychedelic universes and other drug addiction mysticisms. But soon he discovered that inside him lived an animal of rage and fury that needed a release. That release had in The Ghost Tantras its howl, its agonized expression. The McClure of this time must be read knowing that he is a writer as dangerous and harmful as Burroughs, that to read his work it is better to go to the center of the road because on the sidewalk you can receive more than one knife. In its furious play titled The Beard, the stinking breath of the protagonists matters as much as it is written from a room in hell, which does not shy away from the fantastic worlds or deviations from reality and from the sexual, for which it will be judged by obscenity and attack on public morals.

But as happened with his fellow beats, the McClure biography is also gradually seeking the paths of serenity. There is also a search for the material unity between the body and nature, an ecological consciousness that will never leave you. His poems definitely speak with the colloquial voice of the San Francisco Bay, they aspire to a Taoist energy, with exquisite sensitivity they describe the wonder of everyday life, the vast and complex beauty of what happens on the street.

He was always a restless guy, he always tried to make his figure stand out as the epicenter of all the cultural earthquakes that were going to happen. It is not surprising, therefore, that he was so interested in the public significance of poetry, that he would launch himself into bars and theaters reciting his poems or recording with Jim Morrison or Ray Manzarek, of The Doors, or writing “Mercedes Benz” for Janis Joplin .

He tried to make literature the one that advanced the revolutions of his time. His life can be summed up in one sentence: he tried to make the excesses and fury of an era a quiet room for the next generation. .

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