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Monday January 23, 2012 in Books


By Michael McClure

Foreword by Paul E. Nelson

Widely noted for the popularity of his dynamic performances, Michael McClure has been celebrated since his first poetry event. At twenty-two years old, in San Francisco’s legendary Six Gallery, McClure, Gary Snyder and Allen Ginsberg gave their first poetry reading—Ginsberg read “Howl” that night. McClure’s writing followed his deepening environmental awareness and biological studies, and he became an outspoken advocate, through his essays, music, theatre and novels, for the protection of all living beings.

When McClure’s Specks was first published in 1985 by Talonbooks, it was a revelation in terms of its transcending the proprioceptive poetic methodology of Charles Olson and entering an Aristotelian realm of metaphysical questions that alchemically combined matters both scientific and mystical. In this much-anticipated return, with incisive and bombastic projective verse, McClure’s stance in the face of futurity is even more topical, as the senses of the physical-poetic body explore its properties, powers and limitations, expanding forth as the benevolent love child of its own consciousness.

Specks assumes the form of a blastula, offering a poetic model of embryonic development that arises from the cellular division known as “cleavage.” Specks presents groupings of ideas that mimic and challenge one another in a deep biological state. With mind aglow in recognition of muscular imagination and the intelligence of the sensorium in all its unapologetic tonality, McClure’s luminous journey leaps with the grace of Muhammad Ali and Fred Astaire, and tempts the reader into the mysterious abyss of dark energy that Federico García Lorca calls duende.

ISBN 13: 9780889226883 | ISBN 10: 889226881
6 W x 9 H inches | 96 pages
16.95 CAN / 16.95 US
Rights: World
Backlist | Poetry | Bisac: POE000000
2 Edition


“McClure’s poetry is a blob of protoplasmic energy.”
—Allen Ginsberg

“McClure’s poetry and prose is one of the more remarkable achievements in recent American literature.”
—Times Literary Supplement

“a serious, though lively, work of poetry, and one could argue that you shouldn’t simply read it, but study it, and be deeply rewarded by that endeavor. … What is striking about Specks is that it embodies the philosophy it espouses. It is a wide-reaching open form that absorbs, activates, and is influenced by all it encounters. … an appropriative modernist text, with a multitude of sources woven into an all-encompassing lingual texture … a book that should be studied with the hope that it may startle our dull minds alert, so to speak, allowing us to achieve greater heights of personal transformation. … we need things to intensify life, not dull it, and Specks is one of those things.”
– Prick of the Spindle

“Tourné vers la science, les atomes, la biologie et le corps, McClure chemine et analyse le réel à l’aide de son regard unique. Ses poèmes plongent le lecteur dans des réflexions profondes. Il faut lire ce recueil ainsi que l’œuvre complète de ce poète associé à la Beat Generation.”
Canadian Literature

About the Contributors

Michael McClure

Michael McClure is a novelist, musician, playwright and poet who came to prominence in the 1950s as a central figure of the beat generation. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Guggenheim Fellowship, an Obie Award for Best New American Play, a Rockefeller Grant for Playwriting, the Josephine Miles Literary Award and the Alfred Jarry Award. He has written more than twenty plays, which are regularly performed in the United States and abroad.

Specks cover

Michael McClure

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