"I envy Joanna McClure's writing without an urge always to say 'something important.' The world out there exists in its stew of good and evil, and she, shocked by it, nevertheless remains in her catbird's nest, parsing her own life–a life so fully expressed in these interior monologues."
–Lawrence Ferlinghetti, member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters
"Joanna McClure writes with a delightful and charmed authenticity. Fresh, direct, and observant, her honesty and intelligence shine through the decades. She grants herself freedom to observe with an open heart, revealing the story of a life that aims for harmony of spirit, self, and the world around her."
–Joanne Kyger, author of About Now: Collected Poems
and Strange Big Moon: The Japan and India Journals, 1960-1964
"A poetry of elusive moments we must fill in, like haiku ... A revelation of deep feelings and a life played for keeps."
–Peter Coyote, actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall
"Joanna McClure grew up on the desert ranch, and her poetry has the same pure, sparse beauty, written with the sharp eye of a naturalist. The body of work gathered here in this book has a subtlety and power that is all too rare in the noisy neon world. Joanna's poems will claim you, and you should let them."
–Brenda Knight, author of Women of the Beat Generation
"The power in Joanna McClure's poems starts quietly, but so does a nuclear chain reaction. Whether she writes of simple joys, like the pleasure of laughter, or deep feelings, like her love for so many different men and women, McClure shows utmost respect for, and kindness toward, the life both around and inside her. These are poems of precise observation, untainted by prejudgment or emotional outburst, that refuse to let life be seen as one-dimensional, that demand always 'both sides of the coin.' The immediacy of lovemaking is weighed against the governments that 'turn over like exploding pods'; the dark brown delicacy of a sunflower's center against the dark brown depth and terror 'of Baudelaire Verlaine and Mallarmé.' McClure's outwardly quiet life is at times reminiscent of Emily Dickinson, for she finds so much beauty, joy, and imagination in roles that to some might look quite ordinary: lover, wife, mother, teacher, caregiver, and finally, lover again. In fact, it is hard not to envy her unending 'love affair of the century' with the world around her, in which she is overcome to the point of ecstasy in her extraordinary appreciation of the blessedness of every moment. Truly, these poems are a gift of new life, and renewed life, to everyone who reads them."
–Gerald Nicosia, author of Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac, One and Only: The Untold Story of
On the Road,
and Night Train to Shanghai
"A clear-eyed compendium of a poet's life path. A poetic journey of being and becoming, lucid, open, direct and honest, playful, deeply articulately serious, moving and often magical. McClure's collected poetry is a notable addition to the undiscovered works of the so-called Beat Generation. It is a rich and wise offering."
–David Meltzer, author of When I Was a Poet
"These poems are a wholeness of melodious contemplation. The language skillfully avoids the heaviness of time-bound phrasings, allowing for an inner odyssey of accumulated decades; at the same time, the entire body of work aims at a reader's mind at just this instant, in every generational moment."
–Kristian Carlsson, Swedish poet and translator, editor of Kvinnas Beat