“Beat poets McClure [and others] caused a great seismic shift in literature with their fresh and liberated approaches to language and focus on the chimerical workings of the mind. Their meditative perspectives led not only to revolutionary poetry but to sustained and beautifully articulated Buddhist practices. In his new collection, McClure presents a series of dharma devotions — lithely observant and gently philosophical musings — that flow down the center of elongated pages like brooks, tree trunks, reeds, or the brush strokes of c c calligraphy. As the reader’s eyes slide happily down these wavy word columns, joyful images of the natural world — hummingbirds and raccoons, honeysuckles and waterfalls, fog and stone — open like flowers in the verdant field of McClure’s sweetly bemused commentary on our wayward nature. Delicate as his poems are, they nevertheless pack a punch, powered by the tension of dualities and charged with agile leaps of thought.”
BONUS: Few reviews notice the delicious subtext — a biography of the poet’s calico kitten growing to cathood through the year of zazen these poems reflect, a constant reminder of animal Buddha-nature. I’m reminded of Kerouac’s line about “the little cat crying for meat, himself a little meat soul.” And here she is.