As part of the Poets of National Stature reading series organized by Clark County Poet Laureate Bruce Isaacson the following is offered with famed poet, playwright and songwriter, Michael McClure:
When: Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 7:00 PM
Where:Winchester Cultural Center,
3130 S. McLeod Drive, Las Vegas, NV
What: Michael McClure will read from his poetry
When: Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 2 p.m.
Where: Clark County Library,
1401 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV
What: McClure will present a poetry workshop
Michael McClure was a founding member of the Beat Generation and the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance, having given his first reading at the famed Six Gallery in 1955, along with Allen Ginsberg, who gave his first reading of his famous poem, “Howl,” and four other poets. On that occasion, McClure read his “For the Death of 100 Whales,” signaling his pioneering concern for and interest in the marine animals.
In the 1960s, McClure’s play The Beard became a huge cause when it was repeatedly censored in San Francisco and Los Angeles, then moved to New York, where McClure won an Obie Award. Noted playwright Sam Shepard cited that play as an important precursor to his work, which radically transformed the theater in the 1970s and 1980s.
In the early 1970s, McClure’s writing began to popularize the movement to Save the Whales, and his poems and activism have been important to ecology movements ever since. A noted American Buddhist, McClure has written some of the most beautiful and profound poems in that genre. His relation with elders who inspired the San Francisco poetry renaissance, such as Robert Duncan and Charles Olson, has made him a key progenitor of modern writing.
McClure’s research into evolutionary biology, biophysics, neurology and other sciences has done as much as any living writer to draw the link between art and science in profound ways, which are of interest to both artists and scientists. McClure’s work has been cited by a variety of leading scientific thinkers, such as Francis Crick, who received a Nobel Prize for his discovery of DNA.
McClure has also been prominent in the world of rock music. He authored the lyrics to the song “Mercedes Benz,” popularized in the classic performance by Janis Joplin. He worked closely with members of The Doors, including encouraging Jim Morrison to publish his poems and performing extensively with Ray Manzarek, the band’s keyboardist. McClure has also worked with other notable musicians, including jazz bassist Christian McBride and new music composer Terry Riley.
McClure’s books have been produced by the most important publishers of the era including: “Huge Dreams: San Francisco and Beat Poems” (Penguin), “Scratching the Beat Surface” (Penguin), “The Beard” (Grove Press & Evergreen), “Mysteriosos” (New Directions), “Rain Mirror” (New Directions), “Touching the Edge” (Shambhala), “Rebel Lions” (New Directions), “Of Indigo & Saffron” (U.C. Press), and “Ghost Tantras” (City Lights).