Michael McClure Passes Away/Live Streamed Poetry/Pandemic Poetry Anthology – Poetry News Roundup May 7th

Today in our news round-up we bring the sad news that Michael McClure has died. We look at the poetry events that are live streaming and also another anthology of pandemic poetry.

Michael McClure Dies Aged 87

The famed poet of the Beat Generation Michael McClure has passed away at the age of 87. He died on 5th May at his home in Oakland California. He had suffered from a stroke at some point last year.

At the age of just 22 McClure was involved in assisting with the organisation of the 7th October 1955 Six Gallery beat poetry reading. At the 1967 Summer of Love event, he was involved in a reading at the Human Be-In which took place at Golden Gate Park. He was also involved in the 1976 Last Waltz concert which took place at Winterland.

As a young poet, McClure gave his first reading in 1955. However, the introduction of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl cast it somewhat into the shadow. The event is often thought to mark the beginning of the Beats Generation. Not only was Allen Ginsberg there, but Jack Kerouac was in the audience. However, he had the last laugh, as his career outlasted that of all the other beats poets and lasted for more than 60 years. During those 60 years, he published over 30 books; including plays, poetry and anthologies, the last of which was in 2017

He also worked for 43 years as a professor of poetry at California College and even toured with Ray Mazarek of the Doors, visiting Mexico, Japan and travelling all over the United States.

Since 1963 his work has been published by City Lights, the publishers and bookstore that was founded by fellow Beats Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D Martin.

He leaves behind a wife, Amy Evans McClure and one daughter.

Live Streaming Poetry Readings

With bookstores closed and events cancelled many bookstores are turning to technology to keep people interested in reading and poetry. Last night, the Labyrinth bookstore live-streamed a reading of Walt Whitman poetry. The event was held as part of a collaboration with the Princeton Public Library and form part of the new live streaming programme that they have been running during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mark Doty and award-winning poet did the readings and also discussed his most recent book which looks at the life of Whitman. Doty says that the works of Whitman have been of significant influence to him over the years as well as being responsible for shaping the world of American poetry to what it is today.

Doty who is himself an author of three volumes of poetry recently authored the book “What is the Grass: Walt Whitman in My Life

Pandemic Poetry Anthology

A short while ago, we brought you a story about the poetry anthology that Carol Anne Duffy was putting together in the UK. Now it would seem that there is also an anthology of pandemic poetry being created in the US.

The collection, which was started by the poet Ada Limon, will include more than 80 poems and will be available as an e-book and audio version from the beginning of June. There are hopes to publish it as a hardback at some point in November as well.

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