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A Beat in Review

Many of these poems I have not seen before, or, perhaps, having seen years before have forgotten. In the past I had found many of his poems to be inaccessible, but that probably had more to do with youth and inexperience than with Mr. McClure's efforts. But over the years I found him to be among the most reliable poets of both the beat and post-beat eras - the sixties. He had this interesting style of laying down a pattern, a form, for the eye to absorb, along with a biological understanding of both the essence of poetry and life itself. His work was always physiological. More than the exclamations of Whitman at the miracle of life, McClure gives us a look at poetry, and how it relates to the the flesh - indeed maybe the poem as flesh itself - as though through the illumination of a joyous autopsy. Like Whitman, Mr. McClure's poetry, and other works, possesses immediacy, and demands accordingly the attention the immediate requires.

I would like to see, and to have the chance to see more of his works made again available. (Perhaps they are, I haven't been to City Lights in sometime.) His novel, The Adept was one I liked years ago. And Rare Angle was a long poem of his I favored - with my favorite line, a line I've stolen from time to time: "Like Kilroy/looking over the edge/at something..."

For those interested, Mr. McClure can be seen in Peter Fonda's great western, The Hired Hand, as a no account in a saloon. He acts a bit like the way, I imagine, Arthur Rimbaud may have behaved in a saloon in the wild west.