The running theme in Michael McClure’s Simple Eyes & Other Poems is: looking at the world directly. The results are often as disquieting a they are illuminating, whether he directs his unblinking gaze on the American cityscape, the landscapes of Mexico and Kenya, or the mind’s own terrain. In the long title poem, “Simple Eyes (Fields),” the stanzas on the Persian Gulf War bloom out of images of all wars the poet has known — “the spiritual wars, the napalm and cordite and nuclear ward, and the war against nature” — and become a kind of spiritual autobiography. At the heart of the poetry is McClure’s return to the ancient concept of agnosia, the idea of knowing through unknowing, as a way of living in desperate times, in which deep human or human feelings have almost become outlaw. Simple Eyes is an outspoken poet’s statement, unsentimental, yet with mind and eye quickened by love.
New Directions has published two plays of Michael McClure’s (Gorf and the Obie Award winner Josephine: The Mouse Singer) and six other books of his poetry, incuding his recent Rebel Lions, a “break-through volume, which is at once a return to source and an exploration of the new.” —Jack Foley, Poetry Flash
“…everything from straightforward political invective to grandly mystical biology-rooted verses comes across with absorbing impact.” —Richard Cromelin, Los Angeles Times
“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