Bill's Reviews > Scratching the Beat Surface: Essays on New Vision from Blake to Kerouac

Scratching the Beat Surface by Michael McClure
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Oct 18, 11

Read on October 18, 2011

Oh man, I wish I knew what I was thinking with this one.

Actually, I know what I was thinking. I was thinking I'd purchased a book of essays about the Beats, their artistic influence, maybe another new and interesting point of view on the Six Gallery Reading, as McClure was one of the readers that night. I was hoping for something new, something different, something I had yet to uncover in my studies of the Beats. I got just that, but now that I got it, I want to throw it right back. Because what I really got was a bunch of hippie-dippie crap and a whole lot of navel gazing.

Here is what I have gathered from reading this book:

Michael McClure took peyote 24 years prior to writing the book. He may have still been a little high when he sat down to write it.

McClure fucking LOVES wolves and William Blake.

McClure has a NASTY habit of CAPITALIZING WORDS he WANTS to emphasize. IT GETS really tiresome TO READ PROSE or even poetry when the author is textually shouting at you A THIRD OF THE TIME.

In short, if you aren't the biggest McClure fan (I am not) or get tired of all the metaphysical "expand your consciousness" talk (I cannot stand it) avoid this book. I should have.

I leave you with an excerpt to show you what I'm talking about:

A ribosome in a liver cell in a salmon might relate to a field of energies or a point within a quasar or a distant sun. There might be interlocked and predisposed relationships of these, and other constructs. If the universe is a single flow or aura, it seems highly likely that such interrelationships exist. (And the universe IS indeed an aura or trillionically multiplex interrelations. And it is primarily comprised of styles of matter that we do not consciously contact.) We cannot perceive an antimatter universe - yet everything that we perceive as real might be an empty pinprick of nothingness within a nirvana of antimatter beyond comprehension.

Yes, because that's what I think of when I want to read about a literary sub-genre.

Fucking shoot me.
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