Writer, critic, educator, composer. Michael McClure was born October 20, 1932 in Marysville, Kansas. A poet, playwright, songwriter, critic, and educator, McClure moved to San Francisco as a young man and quickly became involved in the vibrant poetry scene. He published his first volume of poetry, Passages, in 1956. McClure was launched into the American cultural consciousness as one of the five poets included in the San Francisco Six Gallery reading in 1955, famous for the first public performance of Allen Ginsberg’s poem, “Howl.” Like Ginsberg, McClure fought against the censorship of his work, a play entitled The Beard (1965), in performances in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The play found a more favorable reception in New York, where it won two Obie Theatre Awards for Best Director and Best Actress (1967-1968).
McClure’s work explores the animalistic in humanity and his public performances, such as at the Tripps Festival in Vancouver (1966) and the Human Be-In at Golden Gate Park (1967), are noted for their dynamism. His non-fiction essays have been featured in publications such as Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle. In addition, McClure has released collaborative albums of his poetry featuring music by Ray Manzarek and Terry Riley, and his songs include “Mercedes Benz,” made famous by Janis Joplin. McClure has received numerous awards for his work, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, an Alfred Jarry Award, and a Rockefeller grant for play writing. He lives and works in the San Francisco Bay area.
Discrete project sites documenting the work of specific artists and collectives in detail.
Essays and conversation providing a context for exploring the Project Sites and Archives.
Video interviews conducted between December 2008 and May 2009 reflecting on Vancouver’s art scene in the sixties.