Michael McClure Archives Simon Fraser University

November 18, 2021
Splabman

On Friday, November 12, 2021, Adelia MacWilliam and I visited the W.A.C. Bennett Special Collections Library at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. to investigate the extensive Michael McClure archives held there. Tony Power has been the Head of Special Collections for at least ten years. The library started in 1964 with the focus of Beat and Black Mountain literature, as Ralph Maud and Robin Blaser were driving forces in the early days. I have been to the collection on 6 or 7 occasions, most notably while doing graduate research on McClure which resulted in, among other things, this essay on his poem “Dolphin Skull” – a poem which changed the trajectory of my life.

The day after Remembrace Day 2021 we were looking for evidence that Michael was inspired to write his Beast Language Ghost Tantras by being “opened” in Subud and having been granted the freedom to utter any sound in Latihan his “sinew and tendons and heart and lung request” to quote his essay “Reason.” That is an essay published in the second edition of Meat Science Essays. He told me that the essay was about his experience in doing Latihan and signed the book with this inscription:

“Reason with a kiss of Subud.” (You can see the Reason essay here.)

That he would liken the unique experience of Latihan, which would be jarring for anyone seeing it being practiced without any preparation like this says something:

On this occasion we did not find any documentation that there is any link between Latihan and Ghost Tantras, but did find some interesting material, such as his legal beef with Andy Warhol:

Note on the legal hassle between Michael McClure and Andy Warhol over The Beard

There were also three different Personal Universe Decks:

Lion Fight Personal Universe Deck

Lion Fight Personal Universe Deck

Lion Fight Personal Universe Deck

Lion Fight Personal Universe Deck

Lion Fight Personal Universe Deck

Michael McClure Dream Table Personal Universe Deck

Michael McClure Personal Universe Deck

Michael McClure Personal Universe Deck

Michael McClure Personal Universe Deck

A postcard from Ted Berrigan:

Ted Berrigan Postcard to Michael McClure

Ted Berrigan Postcard to Michael McClure

Notice the upside down stamp.

A poem and a doodle from Sister Mary Norbert Körte:

And a letter from the inimitable Richard Brautigan:

Letter from Richard Brautigan to Michael McClure

We thank Tony Power for his assistance with navigating this amazing resource and assured him we would be back. Our thanks to Amy Evans McClure for permission to post these materials. We plan to go back to the archive soon to follow the Latihan trail.

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