Michael McClure reads to lions

Tantra 49 and 1974 Olson Memorial Lectures at Buffalo

photo by Wallace Berman (I love this image)

Last year City Lights published a new edition of McClure's 1964 Ghost Tantras. This early work of McClure's is composed in a partially invented vocabulary that he calls "beast language" (guttaral, expressive), which  brings to mind Khlebnikov's zaum  "Incantation by Laughter" (McClure references Mayakovsky).  McClure wanted to find a level of language that invoked our animality and the recordings he made with lions in 1964 and 1966 remain powerful poetic documents. 

This mp3 is a 1964 reading of "Tantra" 49 from that book; the recording was  made by Bruce Conner.
 (4:07): MP3
 
The better known video, also a reading of "Tantra" 49, is an excerpt from a 1966 episode of Richard O. Moore’s television series U.S.A. Poetry.

49.
SILENCE THE EYES! BECALM THE SENSES! 
Drive drooor from the frcsh repugnance, thou whole, 
thou feeling creature. Live not for others but affect thyself 
from thy enhanced interior - believing what thou carry. 
Thy trillionic multitude of grahh, vhooshes, and silences. 
Oh you are heavier and dimmer than you know 
and more solid and full of pleasure. 
Grahhr! Grahhhr! Ghrahhhrrr! Ghrahhr. Grahhrrr. 
Grahhr-grahhhhrr! Grahhr. Gahrahhrr Ghrahhhrrrr. 
Gharrrrr. Ghrahhr! Ghrarrrrr. Ghanrrr. Ghrahhhrr. 
Ghrahhrr. Ghrahr. Grahhr. Grahharrr. Grahhrr. 
Grahhhhr. Grahhhr. Gahar. Ghmhhr. Grahhr. Grahhr. 
Ghrahhr. Grahhhr. Grahhr. Gratharrr! Grahhr. 
Ghrahrr. Ghraaaaaaahrr. Grhar. Ghhrarrr! Grahhrr. 
Ghrahrr. Gharr! Ghrahhhhr. Grahhrr. Ghraherrr.

 

(audio and video are part of McLure's PennSound page.)

Also new at McClure's PennSound page:

Charles Olson Memorial Lectures, SUNY Buffalo, March 18-27, 1980

First Lecture: "Scratching the Beat Surface," March 18, 1980
(1:00:05):  MP3

Second Lecture Discussion, March 20, 1980
(37:14):  MP3

Third Lecture: "Into the Theater," March 25, 1980
(1:24:59):  MP3

Poetry Reading, March 27, 1980
(29:51):  MP3

& also, just saying ... this 2012 live recording, which is also available on Spotify. It's a state of the art jazz/poetry collaboraton and Manzarek (pianist for The Doors) plays beautifully.