Poet Michael McClure, whom many laud as one of the founders of the Beat Generation, has died at the age of 87.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, McClure died at his home in Oakland, CA from complications of a stroke he suffered in the Spring of 2019.
McClure rose to fame at the young age of 22, when he helped organize the landmark Six Gallery beat poetry reading on October 7th, 1955. “Without the roar of McClure, there would have been no ’60s,” actor Dennis Hopper once said.
McClure continued to publish poetry, plays, and anthologies for more than 60 years, and only retired from the public eye in 2017. He also spent 43 years as a professor of poetry at California College of the Arts.
Famed San Francisco poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti said in 2017, “Michael was the youngest of the poets that became known as the Beats. He was not only the youngest, he was completely different than anyone else. He spoke in beast language.”
“Michael was incredibly gracious, erudite, and totally dedicated to the poet’s calling,” said Elaine Katzenberger, publisher of City Lights, which published McClure’s works dating to 1963.
“He was a sometimes-trickster, most definitely a provocateur, and yet, quite solicitous and patient, a sage who was beautiful inside and out.”