What I set out to do, as a poet, started changing within a couple of years. My neo-Beat poetry begged to be expanded beyond its hip ethos, then my political family background came to the fore and asked that I write in an open form and communicate more clearly, next my interest in the sonnet captivated me, combined with a deepening meditation practice.
These and similar changes kept me learning and growing through the later 1900s and into the twenty teens. Along the way I began writing fiction, essays, and plays. Among the many changes, among the minor and the sweeping changes, the most transformative event was happening on the Chalcedony poems.
These affirm the considerations that emerge as consistent through all my work. They also give me confidence in my voice, which comes through strongly in those poems, and has migrated into the rest of my work. What are these considerations? An interest in consciousness, in passion, in the body, in being as complete a being in life as I can, as if I am called upon to be a guide.
The role of poet asks an honesty and an authenticity I aspire to constantly in my newest work, Hello, Paradise. Paradise Goodbye. The material there is well-known to most of humanity: the world is collapsing around us. Can something be gained by seeing it clearly? This poem is a collaborative construction of ads, clichés, lyrics, laments, nursery rhymes, street slang, speeches, dicta, bits of conversation, scenes from movies, quotes from articles, lines from rap, hip-hop, pop, music hall, poems, classics, anthems, and long lists, some political, some scientific, some common sense, and take-offs on all of these, often warped to fit the issues of our planet. Phrases, accurate or heavily revised, also come from conversations with those responding to the poem. Aligning images so the currents flow took some art, currents of joy, sorrow, grief, guilt, insight, and radical hope
Poems are a way of identifying what’s happening, often in conversation with oneself or with others. What do you hold dear, what needs to be said this very moment? What inspiration are you tuned into? Our observations in the 1960s seemed to us the first accurate ones ever, as we shed the trance of World War II, the Atomic Age and the 1950s. It was a revelation to be young and growing, in consonance with the culture’s evolution, wherever that growth has taken us.
Clive Matson’s poetry has been praised by luminaries from Robert Bly (“important, open and delicate”) to Diane DiPrima (“powerful and tender… speak(s) directly to the heart”) and Susan Griffin (“delightful and penetrating… a revelation”). Copies of his recent works of poetry are available either through Amazon or directly from the author, along with his life-changing guide to developing personal creativity, Let the Crazy Child Write!
Blogging offers a forum for musing about the craft of writing and the events that surround us in a very frustrating and yet exciting time, as we are faced with many issues similar to those of the 1960s.
Clive believes that poems are meant not only to be read, but to be heard, following the ancient tradition of poetry as performance, dating all the way back to the Homeric period in Ancient Greece. Before there was writing there was poetry. The sound of the words had significance as well as meaning. Clive has read his work at reading venues since the early 1960s in the East Village of NYC.