Michael McClure & Ray Manzarek
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Gary Snyder regarding Michael McClure & Ray Manzarek

Gary Snyder "Starting with the 'Jazz and Poetry' experiments in the late fifties -- Kenneth Rexroth at the Cellar, for example, poets and musicians have been talking about, exploring, the fit of music and poetry in performance. Nobody has done it better and more consistently over the years than Michael McClure and Ray Manzarek -- more than 150 gigs, they estimate. Their transformative appearances are just the tip of the iceberg of aesthetic and spiritual energy that is a small but still hopeful counterforce to institutionalized Global Banditry. That counterforce goes back to the fifties and before.

Michael and I have been conspirators in the cultural rebellion of our times since we were both in our twenties. Both of us performed at the Six Gallery reading in 1955, which marked the west coast beginning of the Beat Generation, and we have stayed in close touch ever since. Ray Manzarek, from his own side has been part of a spectacular cultural history.

And Ray Manzarek, I need not remind you, was with the Doors, and with Jim Morrison, from the very beginning, and is a clear-eyed musical and cultural craftsman, a professional in the best sense, who continues in his own part of the spiritual energy I have spoken of. Right now he is making an experimental movie which will be shown at Sundance next year. Michael too was present and involved in the early years of Ray and Jim Morrison's musical evolution, and a poet-mentor to Morrison.

Michael McClure has published fifteen books of poetry plus two novels, five books of essays, and nine plays. His two most recent books of poetry are 'Touching the Edge, Dharma Devotions from the Hummingbird Sangha' and 'Huge Dreams'. Ray has recently published an autobiography called 'Light My Fire'.

We are truly honored to have these two great shaman-artists of deep experience and long practice with us here at the old North Columbia Schoolhouse, across from the Coughlan ranch-house, in the zone of the peacocks, that we all may be in a moment of creation together."

For the poetry reading / music event of 14. VIII. 99

~~ Gary Snyder

 

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