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Scratching the Beat Surface

McClure, Michael

ISBN 10: 0865470731 / ISBN 13: 9780865470736
Published by North Point Press, 1982
Used Condition: Fine Hardcover
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0865470731 Fine. No Dust Jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 012300ARS25M93

Bibliographic Details

Title: Scratching the Beat Surface

Publisher: North Point Press

Publication Date: 1982

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

This insider's view of the Beat scene of the fifties and early sixties vividly marks the advancement of a new perception of art as "a living bio-alchemical organism" through essays by a poet and playwright who helped shape the movement.

Review:

Michael McClure has been a persistent and sometimes fascinating figure for three decades. Rightfully associated with California schools of poetry such as Duncan and the Beats, this book's title leads one to believe it's about the Beats. And, indeed, much of it is-musings, reminiscences, and evocations. In a sense McClure is highly generous for he presents not only a sequence of essays that pivot off the Beat theme, but also examples of his poetry and that of others-notably Ginsberg and Kerouac. In facL his tribute to Kerouac, especially as exemplified in Kerouac's ecstatic, religious choruses, Mejdco City Blues, is really eloquent. Although McClure's poetry never quite matches that of those he admires and who have influenced him (such as Olson), it is interesting to read in his words how he was influenced to write the poems. Notable among the other influences on McClure are the scientific ones. Throughout his work there is interaction with the physical and random world of the universe and the animal or shamanistic world of interpreted human nature. Almost from the beginning, his poetry has taken on a very marked physical presence in its shape and type appearance (lines all in caps, pyramidal modulations, etcetera) suggestive of some kind of growth, whether organic or crystalline. For example, from "Hail Thee Who Playl": "OH DO NOT KILL! BLESS those who love you still OR QUICK The MASS of things are sick when seen with rotten eyes; THE STIES of Paradiso are filled with Cherubim." A fascinating gathering of thoughts and poetry, meditations for a world gone mad. -- From Independent Publisher

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