Michael McClure
October 20, 1932 – May 4, 2020

Michael McClure home page

Wikipedia page for McClure


SF Chron - famed Beat poet who helped launch the SF Renaissance, dead at 87 (thanks Brit Pyland)

NY Times - Present at Beat Poetry’s Birth, Dies at 87

Time - Famed Poet Who Helped Launch the Beat Generation

Found the following on cuke.com:

Diane DiPrima poem for Michael McClure

we ran to the river
in the dawn light
shouting Shelley
thanks Jeanne DiPrima for sharing this Facebook poem post from Rudy DiPrima

from Sterling Bunnell page - Sterling was close friends from way back early sixties with Michael McClure, Joanne Kyger, and Dave Haselwood - they'd go on nature walks together.

McClure read a congratulatory poem at the priest ordination of Peter Coyote. I was there and reported: Then there were munchies and chatter. I said hi to Michael McClure and told him I wanted to talk to him about the old days some time and thanked him for pointing out yerba santa to me in '67 on at hike at Tassajara. 

From interview with Dave Haselwood

I first came out to California with Michael McClure. I was born in 31. I'm originally from Wichita, Kansas. Came to SF at the beginning of 57. Mike McClure and I went to high school and college together. When I got out of the Army I went directly to SF and moved right into the Wentley Hotel on Polk and Sutter which was a big artist's scene.

I knew Richard Baker from the publishing I was doing and when I came out from Kansas I already knew some of the Buddhist poets. I'd already published a book of Phil Whalen's and Lew Welch's and Michael McClure's and I'd been reading DT Suzuki. My first books were John Weiner's first books, Mike McClure's second book and Phil Whalen's first or so and Lew Welch.

From Shunryu Suzuki at the Human Be-in

On January 14, 1967, Ginsberg and Suzuki met again. Some students had brought Suzuki to the Human-Be-In in Golden Gate Park, where tens of thousands of hippies, fellow travelers, and the curious gathered to celebrate, dance, get high, and enjoy the sunshine. As usual, Okusan had tried to stop him, saying he should rest, but it was a free Saturday afternoon and some students were begging him to go, so he did. Suzuki was welcomed on the platform, where he sat with Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Gary Snyder, and the poet Michael McClure, among others.


Friday August 30, 7:00 pm
@ Presentation Theater, University of San Francisco
(formerly The Gershwin Theater)
2350 Turk Blvd, west of Masonic
San Francisco

admission is free

Together with the Hartford Street Zen Center, and the MFA Writing Program at USF, The Poetry Center is sponsoring a memorial reading in honor of Philip Whalen's life and poetry. Philip Whalen's friends and fellow poets will speak and read from his work, and from their own and others' work in tribute to him. Michael McClure, Diane di Prima, Leslie Scalapino, David Meltzer, Clark Coolidge, Anne Waldman, Jane Hirschfield, and Bill Berkson are among the many poets and friends who will appear on the program.

When I took over and ran the SFZC's Green Gulch Green Grocer in 1975, Michael called me Zen Center's designated target. The Chinese American owner of the little food store that had been on that Page and Laguna corner before, had been murdered in a robbery. His wife subsequently killed to men who tried to rob it. It was a somewhat dangerous neighborhood back then. He continued to call me that through the years.

When in the early eighties, I created the World Suicide Club, dedicated to the eliminating of the human race and all higher forms of life, Michael and family all bought WSC tee shirts displaying a nuclear bomb explosion - even a tiny one for the baby. They hosted a presentation on the WSC at their home. Their daughter was a med student and I believe she was the one who arranged that. The single World Suicide was played. I believe it was attended by her fellow med school students, one of whom committed suicide that night. They didn't think there was a connection but that would be hard to prove. - dc

Michael McClure in draft for Tassajara Stories: the Early Years with Shunryu Suzuki

Poet Michael McClure did a couple of readings at Tassajara that summer – from The Love Lion Book among others. He’d just come out with a book called, Freewheeling Frank about Frank Reynolds, the secretary of the San Francisco Hell’s Angels. He said that Reynolds had a serious interest in Zen. We went for a walk down to the narrows and on the way he introduced me to yerba santa, the holy herb. Told me the California Indians made a tea out of it if they had a cold or cough. He took a tiny top leaf and gave me one, telling me to chew on it some and keep it in my mouth. A little later when I took a sip of water from the creek, a delicate sweetness followed. McClure had come to California from Kansas with Dave Haselwood who’d sat at Sokoji with Suzuki in the early sixties and whose upscale Auerhahn Press published McClure's 2nd book and was first to publish Phillip Whalen and other notable Bay Area bards. McClure and Haselwood had teamed up with Sterling Bunnell and early Sokoji sitter poet Joanne Kyger for walks in the woods and wild of the Bay Area.

Poets galore came down that road. They’d sat at Sokoji or were familiar with the Zen Center or knew Richard Baker from the poetry conference he’d organized for UC Berkeley two years before. I felt like I was experiencing an extended family including distant cousins.


Richard Baker brought so many interesting people and influences to Zen Center. I was at the City Center and at Green Gulch Farm respectively for his initial two years as abbot. The first guest speaker I remember was Gary Snyder whom he introduced as “one of our teachers.”

Michael McClure did a few readings. I recall one of Minnie Mouse and the Tap-Dancing Buddha and another which was during his period of guttural and other vocalized sounds.