2021 PPF Tribute to Diane di Prima and Michael McClure

April 3, 2021
by Paul Nelson

Two poets who had tremendous influence on USAmerican culture and
poetry in the second half of the 20th century, both died in 2020, were good
friends to each other and each had an influence on the Poetry Postcard
Fest.

Michael McClure reading at City Lights (Photo by Amy Evans McClure)

Michael McClure participated in several SPLAB events, starting with being
interviewed in October 1995 and extolling the wisdom of Projective Verse:
aka Composition by Field. McClure, a member of the Beat Generation
which he called the “Literary Wing of the Environmental Movement.” He
said writing spontaneously was the hardest way to write poetry well and the
notion of spontaneous composition was, in part, why the fest was created.
We wanted participants to have an experience of the thrill of this mode of
composition. McClure was a SPLAB guest, giving readings and conducting
workshops on several occasions in Auburn and Seattle.

Diane di Prima reading at Public Library in SF Photo by Amy Evans McClure

Diane di Prima, whose work with the Diggers had her at the forefront of a
very active San Francisco counter-culture in the thick of the 60s and 70s,
working with the Diggers alongside such members as Peter Berg, who is the
prime force behind the notion of bioregionalism, a huge influence in our
work. She came to the Auburn SPLAB on one occasion to give a reading
(where she read her remarkable and prescient poem Rant) be interviewed,
and to conduct a workshop. This was the same weekend as the annual town
tribute to veterans, so SPLAB di Prima workshop attendees listened to
Diane while tanks were literally parked across the street just outside the
venue. Diane also was a PARTICIPANT in the first Poetry Postcard Fest and
we’re doing all we can to track down any of those poems from back then.
Her commitment to intersectionality and community was extraordinary.

MM in front of one of his paintings at an exhibition in Sacramento by Amy Evans McClure

So, enjoy this site and read some of the poems left by these two legendary
USAmerican outsider poets. They will be missed tremendously here at
SPLAB HQ. Registration for 2021 ends July 18, 2021. www.popo.submittable.com

Paul E Nelson

 

1 Comment

  1. Jerry Bolick

    A warm breeze on a chilled morning in the SF Bay Area–thank you Paul. We know the names, some stories, some of the work, then some wonderful comments slide in from somewhere to remind us again how wonderful it it all has been and can be, meandering along their way, carrying hope heavy with with the confidence commitment carries as easily as the lilt of morning incense, lit simply because someone remembers….

    Reply

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