Mephistos and Other Poems

Mephistos and Other Poems

by Michael McClure

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Overview

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.

Michael and I have been twisting the Dharma for twenty years now. He reads his poetry like a mad lion or a hummingbird or a soft evening tidal pool or a wild California thunderstorm. . . . His words are of a new realm of love and joy and terror. What a pleasure to play with such a perceptive artist. It’s always been my great joy to make music to his words."--Ray Manzarek

[C]ertainly a genius in thought and writing it out . . . McClure is one of the few contemporaries to have understood Kerouac as a literary poet—and learned some joyous classic invention therefrom . . . Thus we have a McClure poet, a McClure natural philosopher, and a McClure prosateur and novelist. Hardly anyone in America with equal range and sharpness, liveness. What more?"--Allen Ginsberg

Praise for Mephistos:

In Mephistos we are again thrown into Michael McClure's lavish lair of forceful magic. Its actions are literal ones, handfuls of jewels disintegrate as a firewall rises to a solid prism. There is no poet more adept at calling forth the elements, only to fashion them later as eternal amulets for his readers. 'NEW MOON ((BLACK!)) /STAR CLOUDS/ HALOES/ Flashlight reflects/ into two small eyes.' You will find your body changed through the labyrinth these poems initiate."--Cedar Sigo

"Close attention will be rewarded in kind. Keep Mephisto near at hand, read only a poem or two at a time, let the imagery possess you. It's okay, you can trust it. It's McClure: he’ll never steer you wrong."--Robert Hunter, lyricist, poet, songwriter

"He is such a sweet paradox!

Like most of Shelley and the late poems of D.H. Lawrence, McClure turns the phenomenal world inside out, seeking Mind within mind."--Diane di Prima, poet

"If you’ve enjoyed McClure’s writings in the past, this volume ought to recapture your poetic heart and rekindle your imagination."--Jonah Raskin, New York Journal of Books

"Mephistos is perhaps an open love letter to all of McClure’s many fans who have followed him ever since he arrived in San Francisco from Kansas City more than half a century ago."--San Francisco Chronicle

"This is poetry for seekers, those interested in developing their inner lives. This is the essence of 'soul-science' and there is no 20th/21st century poet more adept at this than McClure. 'If poetry and science cannot change one's life they're meaningless' he states in the preface to his book 'Three Poems' and his spontaneous technique allows him access to realms that can be seen as outside himself, or as the highest aspects of his self, the noble self, noble human life force."—Paul Nelson

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780872867284
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publication date: 11/15/2016
Pages: 184
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author


Michael McClure is an 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 legendary 1955 Six Gallery reading that featured the public debut of Allen Ginsberg's landmark poem Howl. McClure remains a key figure of the Beat Generation and is immortalized as Pat McLear in Jack Kerouac’s novel Big Sur. A central figure in the Beat Movement and the San Francisco Renaissance, his poetry is heavily infused with an awareness of nature, especially in the animal consciousness that often lies dormant in mankind. He has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Obie Award for Best Play, an NEA grant, the Alfred Jarry Award and a Rockefeller grant for playwriting. McClure is still active as a poet, essayist and playwright and lives with his second wife, Amy, in the San Francisco Bay Area. McClure continues to reach new audiences through his poetry, plays, and performance.

Table of Contents


PREFACE

MEPHISTOS
MEPHISTO 1
MEPHISTO 2
MEPHISTO 3
MEPHISTO 4
MEPHISTO 5
MEPHISTO 6
MEPHISTO 7
MEPHISTO 8
MEPHISTO 9
MEPHISTO 10
MEPHISTO 11
MEPHISTO 12
MEPHISTO 13
MEPHISTO 14
MEPHISTO 15
MEPHISTO 16
MEPHISTO 17
MEPHISTO 18
MEPHISTO 19
MEPHISTO 20
MEPHISTO 21
MEPHISTO 22
MEPHISTO 23
MEPHISTO 24
MEPHISTO 25
MEPHISTO 26
MEPHISTO 27
MEPHISTO 28
MEPHISTO 29
MEPHISTO 30
MEPHISTO 31
MEPHISTO 32
MEPHISTO 33
MEPHISTO 34
MEPHISTO 35
MEPHISTO 36
MEPHISTO 37

SOME FRINGES
THE MYSTERY OF THE HUNT
(MY / MOSS / HEAD)
(MY FACE IS)
(NEW MOON ((BLACK!)))
(gut-)
(THE HAPPY / WHITE DOG)
(SKY MEAT)
(WAVE BOOMS)
(WET / BEACH ROCK)
(I AM THE FIRELIGHT)
(REFINED AS A WILD / BLACKBERRY)
(WHITE CHRYSANTHEMUM)
(— YULE LOG SHINING)
(DRESSED)
(GOBBETS OF FOAM RUSH)
(DARKNESS —)
(In sun)
(HAIKU-LIKE)
(for Gary)
(GRAY SILVERFISH BLUR)
(THIS TINY, CURLED)
(FEATHER-SCATTER BOUQUET)
(THE WING-FACE OF THE LITTLE)
(IN SUMMER SOLSTICE)
(DEEP IN THE PINK FLOWER’S)
(LOVELY ELONGATED LOPING)
(BULGING HUMMINGBIRD EYES)
(MID-AIR — THE SILVER-GREEN)
(THE NEARBY LEMON BLOSSOM)
(RAGGED WINGED YOUNG BUTTERFLY)
(FREE AS A TIGER TABBY)
(SOMETIMES THE CAT PURRING)
(PERFECT BLACK SHADOWS)

ROSE BREATHS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

BEING
THUMBPRINT
SESTINA FOR MY LOVER
UNDERTOW
SKAAGI THE SALMON
MOUNT TAMALPAIS
POLLOCK’S ECHO
ANACREON’S CUPID
ANACREON MEETING CUPID
SMALL ODE ON THE NEED TO DRINK
A BLUE ROSE
EPITHALAMION
FOR TOM
NARCISSUS WAKING UP
ALL CHILDREN
INTIMATE JOURNALS
WET BLACK ROCK
WATER IN WATER
FRANK AND VIVIANA
THE JUDITH POEM
COLOR FIELD

SONG HEAVY

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