Rebel Lions, Michael McClure’s first book of poetry since the retrospective Selected Poems (1985), spans a decade of profound personal change and poetic evolution for the author. In an introductory note, he provides a backdrop for the collection, which moves from old life to new. McClure’s work bursts forth from the matrix of the physical and spiritual. “Poetry is one of the edges of consciousness,” he asserts. “And consciousness is a real thing like the hoof of a deer or the smell of a bush of blackberries at the roadside in the sun.”
In the first section of Rebel Lions, “Old Flames,” the poems range from the realistic (“Awakening and Recalling a Summer Hike”) to the metaphorical (“The Silken Stitching”), as the poet addresses a life on the verge of transformation. The second section, “Rose Rain,” exults in a life transformed through love’s alchemy. Rebel Lions closes with “New Brain,” poems affirming the freedom of all humankind and matter in the eternal now.
“Rebel Lions makes vivid the feelings of adamant human change. Michael McClure is the singular master of that body’s voice, the sounds too often we would muffle, the language we must all finally learn.” —Robert Creeley
“Without McClure’s roar there would have been no sixties. It has not diminished but has become a scream of the nineties. The lion has matured.” —Dennis Hopper
Publisher: New Directions
cover artwork by Wallace Berman