McClure began as a wildly experimental poet who achieved early fame through his participation in the Six Gallery reading and went on to become a staple of the Bay Area poetry scene where he is now best known for his staged readings, often with musical accompaniment. McClure chose "For The Death of 100 Whales" as one of his four poems at the Six Gallery reading, marking the beginning of a career in political activism, which later fueled anti-war poems. He experimented with drugs, as a way to explore the boundaries between humanity and other life forms - what he called the "visceral under soul" - and language, replacing words with guttural utterances as a way to speak to the muscles and tissues rather than to the ear and mind. His most extravagant exercise took place at the San Francisco Zoo, where he roared passages from his Ghost Tantras at real, living lions. McClure continued his exploration across forms of poetry, essays, plays, novels, and journalism, eventually trading lion garb for buttoned shirts and tamer performances with his entry into academic life.
beat, beat movement, Michael McClure, McClure, San Francisco
Faylor, Garrett, "Michael McClure" (2016). Beat Exhibit. 5.