In Michael McClure’s Plum Stones/Cartoons of No Heaven, the shapes are abstractions like DNA (statement of relation and in some poems one-word centered lines on a page) which as a language can’t ever be the same as the object (such as “black lily”). Yet he breaks down a distinction between text as object and the phenomenal object of “black lilies” (words), and physical sensation (of the “speaker” or reader of those words)… He transposes (enacts) the (comic book bubble) language of his poetry as theater; it is a mode of theater in both his poetry and his plays — in both, the distinction between surface and intuitive apprehension is broken down — or between that which is “visual” and (that as) language.
Praise for Plum Stones/Cartoons of No Heaven
Michael McClure shares a place with the great William Blake, with the visionary Shelly, with the passionate D.H. Lawrence…
— Robert Creeley
What appeals to me most about Michael’s poems is the fury and the imagery of them… The worlds in which I myself live… the private world of personal reactions, the biological world (animals and plants and even bacteria…), the world of the atom and molecule, the stars and the galaxies, are all there; and in between, above and below, stands man, the howling mammal, contrived out of “meat” by chance and necessity.
— Francis Crick, discoverer of the DNA double helix