Michael McClure: May 13, 1969

The Poetry Center presents Michael McClure reading from a series of poems based in childhood memory followed by excerpts from his play in manuscript titled The Pansy.

Originally Recorded By
San Francisco State University
Total Run Time
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  • Mark Linenthal makes introductory remarks regarding upcoming readings and Michael McClure. (00:00)
  • Michael McClure makes introductory remarks. Questions and answers with audience about publishing, little magazine, The Beard performance in Fullerton, CA. Remarks about what he is going to read. Memory, childhood, who we are. Spontaneous, rhymed poems developing into poems about childhood which he will read. Comments about Bruce Conner's Rat Bastard sculptures. (06:01)
  • Poem beginning "What can I do when I am blue?" (12:59)
  • Remarks on taking a walk to the store and seeing a dog on the street. (13:39)
  • Poem beginning "On the streets dogs do it" (13:48)
  • Comment 'Having one of those things' (14:34)
  • Poem beginning "Scatology, why must you be my 'ology?" (14:41)
  • Remarks that there are two words for soul in German. Sings Brahms song set to Ecclesiastes. (15:39)
  • Poem beginning "I cried for the Odem, the Undersoul" (16:35)
  • Poem beginning "The tea is a sea of wave forms boiling and exploding" (17:26)
  • Comment 'And then I thought, Well, that's not gettin' crazy enough' (18:08)
  • Poem beginning "But I believe in all things that be themselves" (18:11)
  • Poem beginning "A hundred elves climbing ladders" (18:57)
  • Comment 'About four years old.' Digging a hole and peeing in it. Then digging up the dirt and the water wasn't there anymore. (19:41)
  • Poem beginning "We dug the hole; I pissed the pond" (20:01)
  • Poem beginning "Or seals beside the silver spanning bridge" (20:53)
  • Poem beginning "Were angels dreaming in our hollow logs" (21:36)
  • Poem beginning "Robert McBurney, a hurdy-gurney" (22:15)
  • Poem beginning "Lady on the train from Lincoln, who were you?" (23:05)
  • Poem beginning "And a cut class Scottie cream pitcher full of cream on table" (23:50)
  • Poem beginning "Or start anywhere; all's fair in memory and war" (24:37)
  • Remark about reading some poems randomly and pointing out a poem he's going to read that doesn't rhyme. Also remarks that most of the elements of the poems are not in his active memory. (25:37)
  • Poem beginning "Little spinning, twisted tinsel" (26:10)
  • Poem beginning "Chester Schenkel, hangman Haydreck, ornithology, Charles Parker" (27:09)
  • Poem beginning "How I love the Sunday PI" (27:47)
  • Poem beginning "The heap was a World War I air ace" (28:38)
  • Poem beginning "Axolotl in aquarium" (29:49)
  • Poem beginning "Then there were all the toads we caught at sand pits" (30:44)
  • Comment 'Keep opening up the ones about radio programs and comic books.' Talks about cartoon with a family and robins who did the same things the the people were doing. (31:38)
  • Poem beginning "And that one where the whole family gathers to get their druthers off" (32:27)
  • Comment 'I made the mistake of thinking of what I wanted to read.' Remarks that a poem is about the attacks of giant glyptodons. Remarks that the poem he is about to read is like Wordsworth's "Intimations of Immortality" (34:00)
  • Poem beginning "What did I see when I took a pee?" (34:39)
  • Remarks on baby talk and laughter. Remarks that he wanted to find the poem about the attack of giant glyptodons. The perils of Nioka. (35:34)
  • Poem beginning "Drove me batty; she wasn't catty" (36:07)
  • Asks for the back lights to be turned down. Remarks that he feels in poetry there is an exultancy and it's easy to use up that exultancy and replace it with other energies. Remarks that the poems he read are part of that process, he had to go back to where he stands before he could be exultant again. Talks about how he couldn't write plays after The Beard. He didn't want to write a dirty play for State Senators. State Senators getting into the act of what's fashionable from the other end. Remarks that he wants to read some excerpts from a play he has been working on. Announces his play being performed in Berkeley. Announces the play, The Pansy. He guesses that he had to answer the rash of lesbian films going on. (37:10)
  • The Pansy (41:00)

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