Ether Sea Projects

About the Book

McClurePlum Stones

Cartoons of No Heaven

Michael McClure

2002 • 103 pp. • $9.50
ISBN: 978-1882022441
Poetry

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McClure’s “advantage is Sheer Scope.”
Rolling Stone

“…Michael McClure shares a place with the great William Blake, with the visionary Shelly, with the passionate D.H. Lawrence…”
—Robert Creeley

“McClure is ‘a poet of the sensorium coursing in the realms of consciousness, a scholar of the visionary, a professor of beauty, a flashpoint at the intersection of the spiritual and the real.’”
—Lewis Mac Adams in L.A. Weekly

“What appeals to me most about Michael’s poems is the fury and the imagery of them…The worlds in which I myself live…the private world of personal reactions, the biological world (animals and plants and even bacteria…), the world of the atom and molecule, the stars and the galaxies, are all there; and in between, above and below, stands man, the howling mammal, contrived out of ‘meat’ by chance and necessity.”
—Francis Crick discoverer of the DNA double helix

“In McClure’s poems, the shapes are abstractions like DNA (statement of relation and in some poems one-word centered lines on a page) which as a language can’t ever be the same as the object (such as ‘black lily’). Yet he breaks down a distinction between text as object and the phenomenal object of ‘black lilies’ (words), and physical sensation (of the ‘speaker’ or reader of those words)…He transposes (enacts) the (comic book bubble) language of his poetry as theater; it is a mode of theater in both his poetry and his plays — in both, the distinction between surface and intuitive apprehension is broken down — or between that which is ‘visual’ and (that as) language.”
—Leslie Scalapino

About the Author

Michael McClure has published over thirty books, wrote Janis Joplin’s hit song “Mercedes Benz,” overcame censorship with his play The Beard, and performed and recorded his poetry with piano improvisation by the Doors’ keyboardist and composer Ray Manzarek. From the history making “Six Gallery” reading in 1955, when he read with Philip Whalen, Allen Ginsberg, and Gary Snyder, to being celebrated in Jack Kerouac’s book Big Sur, Michael McClure and his work have pushed, and continue to push, the horizons of literary possibility.

Excerpt

Excerpt from Plum Stones, Cartoons of No Heaven:
THREE
EVIL. THE COLOR OF EVIL IS CLEARLY
TRANSLUCENT
MOUTH EATHING MOUTH
EATING MOUTH
NEARLY FOREVER.
WITHOUT AN ENDING
BEGINNINGLESS AS BULLETS
AND ORANGE FUR
OF MOTHS
MATING.

COMPASSION IS BORN
SIXTY TIMES
in each second.
E
A
C
H
second
of illusion
laughs out
clouds
while the cleaver falls
on a dust ball.
*

A BILLION CAVES
under the bed
each one holding
ten-thousand worlds of Manjushri
seated on his white lion,
swinging the sword
of
CONSCIOUSNESS
into deeper mines
than our knowing.
*

MOUTH
eating
MOUTH
chewing
through roars
of a book.
*

A
RUBY
MANTRA
of kind eyes
and
light-giving gestures,

RIPS

WINDOWS

OUT OF

FANTASY
so the belly may drop
and nostrils breathe

IT
IS
NOT
EASY
being eyes, ears, nose, mouth,
tongue
and a mind-shape;
so close
to continuous
practice
but
still
a rabbit’s life
distant,

NOT

EASY

WHEN

THE

LION

SCENT

rises
up

wreathing
the ape.

Loving deeply
is
only
a moment of ceaseless
ACHE
in
CONFUSION
and
G
R
I
E
F

This can be perfect