Saturday, June 07, 2008

Why We Still Need the Spirit of the Sixties

Michael McClure headed for San Francisco at the age of 21 - just in time to catch the flowering of the Beat poets. In this short essay from the Guardian's "Comment is Free" Michael writes about Kenneth Rexroth, Robert Duncan and Gary Snyder and about the excitement of the moment when new forms of poetry fused with street politics:
"As we began our poems, spoken loudly from the knocked-together stage, we found we woke each other up to more action, and inspiration, and outspokenness. Most importantly we could feel that human voices were breaking the grim US silence. And most meaningful of all we found the audience was opening us wider with their encouragement and reception, and their feedback. We knew something had happened. We were speaking their ideas."

Michael has also worked with both Ray Manzarek and Terry Riley and its certainly worth checking Michael's webpages on "Light and Dust" for the essays on the Beats: