The Jack Kerouac Poetry Contest

by admin on July 13, 2010

Sponsored by Armadillo Music, and the Cultural Action Committee of the City of Davis

The Jack Kerouac Poetry Prize

First Prize: $200

Second Prize: $100

Third Prize $50

All poems submitted will be considered for publication in The Blue Moon Literary and Art Review

The Deadline for submissions has been extended to September 28th! You still have time!

Emailed entries should be sent to jackkerouaccontest@gmail.com

Paper entries can be sent to 521 1st Street, Davis, CA, 95616

There is no entrance fee, though you should submit only your best unpublished work.

The Cultural Action Committee of Davis and the John Natsoulas Center for the Arts are proud to announce a poetic tribute to the reluctant leader of the Beats, Jack Kerouac with the Jack Kerouac Poetry Prize. In a contest to be judged by Beat icon Michael McClure (see below), poems emulating the spirit of the Beat Generation will be chosen for cash awards, for publication in The Blue Moon Literary and Art Review, and for public performance with live jazz at the annual Davis Jazz and Beat Festival.

This year the contest will be judged by a key member of the beat generation, Michael McClure. McClure is one of the five poets (including Allen Ginsberg) who read at the famous San Fransisco Six Gallery reading in 1955.

McClure’s first book of poetry, Passage, was published in 1956. His poetry is heavily infused with an awareness of nature, especially in the animal consciousness that often lies dormant in mankind. Not only do they contain an awareness of nature, but the poems are organized in an organic fashion, continuing with his appreciation of nature’s purity. Stan Brakhage, friend of McClure, stated in Chicago Review that, “McClure always, and more and more as he grows older, gives his reader access to the verbal impulses of his whole body’s thought (as distinct from simply and only brain-think, as it is with most who write). He invents a form for the cellular messages of his, a form which will feel as if it were organic on the page; and he sticks with it across his life…”

McClure has since published eight books of plays and four collections of essays, including essays on Bob Dylan and the environment. His fourteen books of poetry include Jaguar Skies, Dark Brown, Huge Dreams, Rebel Lions, Rain Mirror and Plum Stones. McClure famously read selections of his Ghost Tantra poetry series to the caged lions in the San Francisco Zoo. His work as a novelist includes the autobiographical The Mad Cub and The Adept. On January 14, 1967, McClure read at the epochal Human Be-In event in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and transcended his Beat label to become an important member of the 1960s Hippie counterculture. Barry Miles famously referred to McClure as “the Prince of the San Francisco Scene”. McClure’s journalism has been featured in Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The L.A. Times and The San Francisco Chronicle. He has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Obie Award for Best Play, an NEA grant, the Alfred Jarry Award and a Rockefeller grant for playwriting. McClure is still active as a poet, essayist and playwright and lives with his second wife, Amy, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A selection of Michael McClure’s poems are available by clicking here.


RAVEN’S FEATHER, EAGLE’S CLAW, EVERY
SONG EVER CHANTED
by the whale hunter
is a collector’s item
and wafts like mountain fog
from node to node before becoming clouds.
EVERY
BACKWARD
LOOK
puts us in touch with sentiment,
and hurts less than peering forward,
for tomorrow is the shadow of today.
Even the blue jay
gloats over his stash
of brass buttons. See the octopus play
with the exoskeleton
of his prey.

The statement’s convolution
confounds what is already done.

Bulldozed hillsides.

Scarlet flower bugles on the mountain top
overlook the graveyard.

Such elegant music when we make it
(for poets call it music)
surprises
US
in the act
of what we do.

The hand plays hide and seek
with the eye, and we grow
great brains
in honor of the game.
Then we dance and the music
follows at our footsteps
and we stop to listen
as it passes by.
WE
HEAR
THE MUSIC
OF
our selves!

Call it animal nature — or name it Civilization.

*       *       *

SPARROW HAWK SKULLCAP, LIGHTNING BOLT
THAT PASSES
THROUGH THE HAND.
WAVES OF CREATURES FLOATING
AT THE EDGE OF FIRE
dive into the air and bound
through space with grace
we nearly comprehend.

Bodies: brown and black and white all blended.
Hoofed and leaping.

TURQUOISE.

CHROME! Berries and Packards all exploding, lined
with fur for force fields.

DESTRUCTION UNROLLED UPON THE PLEISTOCENE
where we stride in luscious comfort,
and love our children,
hug our pets,
experience
the alchemy of being.

THE FEW OF US LIKE WAR CHIEFS
AND LOVE-GOD PRINCES
STAND ON THE PRECIPICE WITH FOLDED ARMS.
THIS
LIFE
has
been

nothing
for
me
but
pleasure.

The worst adversity
is only a length
I measure.
I direct creation of my bed of eider blackness
and drink the juice of apples
as I sup on flesh of crabs.
I
hold great minds
that lived before me
in my hands.
I KNOW THE MEANING OF THE POWER
THAT IS CHANNELED FOR ME. AND I
calmly watch the poisons
splashed across the land.

(Michael McClure, from Rare Angel, 1974)

RAVEN’S FEATHER, EAGLE’S CLAW, EVERY
SONG EVER CHANTED
by the whale hunter
is a collector’s item
and wafts like mountain fog
from node to node before becoming clouds.
EVERY
BACKWARD
LOOK
puts us in touch with sentiment,
and hurts less than peering forward,
for tomorrow is the shadow of today.
Even the blue jay
gloats over his stash
of brass buttons. See the octopus play
with the exoskeleton
of his prey. The statement’s convolution
confounds what is already done.Bulldozed hillsides.

Scarlet flower bugles on the mountain top
overlook the graveyard.

Such elegant music when we make it
(for poets call it music)
surprises
US
in the act
of what we do.

The hand plays hide and seek
with the eye, and we grow
great brains
in honor of the game.
Then we dance and the music
follows at our footsteps
and we stop to listen
as it passes by.
WE
HEAR
THE MUSIC
OF
our selves!

Call it animal nature — or name it Civilization.

*       *       *

SPARROW HAWK SKULLCAP, LIGHTNING BOLT
THAT PASSES
THROUGH THE HAND.
WAVES OF CREATURES FLOATING
AT THE EDGE OF FIRE
dive into the air and bound
through space with grace
we nearly comprehend.

Bodies: brown and black and white all blended.
Hoofed and leaping.

TURQUOISE.

CHROME! Berries and Packards all exploding, lined
with fur for force fields.

DESTRUCTION UNROLLED UPON THE PLEISTOCENE
where we stride in luscious comfort,
and love our children,
hug our pets,
experience
the alchemy of being.

THE FEW OF US LIKE WAR CHIEFS
AND LOVE-GOD PRINCES
STAND ON THE PRECIPICE WITH FOLDED ARMS.
THIS
LIFE
has
been

nothing
for
me
but
pleasure.

The worst adversity
is only a length
I measure.
I direct creation of my bed of eider blackness
and drink the juice of apples
as I sup on flesh of crabs.
I
hold great minds
that lived before me
in my hands.
I KNOW THE MEANING OF THE POWER
THAT IS CHANNELED FOR ME. AND I
calmly watch the poisons
splashed across the land.

RAVEN’S FEATHER, EAGLE’S CLAW, EVERY
SONG EVER CHANTED
by the whale hunter
is a collector’s item
and wafts like mountain fog
from node to node before becoming clouds.
EVERY
BACKWARD
LOOK
puts us in touch with sentiment,
and hurts less than peering forward,
for tomorrow is the shadow of today.
Even the blue jay
gloats over his stash
of brass buttons. See the octopus play
with the exoskeleton
of his prey. The statement’s convolution
confounds what is already done.

Bulldozed hillsides.

Scarlet flower bugles on the mountain top
overlook the graveyard.

Such elegant music when we make it
(for poets call it music)
surprises
US
in the act
of what we do.

The hand plays hide and seek
with the eye, and we grow
great brains
in honor of the game.
Then we dance and the music
follows at our footsteps
and we stop to listen
as it passes by.
WE
HEAR
THE MUSIC
OF
our selves!

Call it animal nature — or name it Civilization.

*       *       *

SPARROW HAWK SKULLCAP, LIGHTNING BOLT
THAT PASSES
THROUGH THE HAND.
WAVES OF CREATURES FLOATING
AT THE EDGE OF FIRE
dive into the air and bound
through space with grace
we nearly comprehend.

Bodies: brown and black and white all blended.
Hoofed and leaping.

TURQUOISE.

CHROME! Berries and Packards all exploding, lined
with fur for force fields.

DESTRUCTION UNROLLED UPON THE PLEISTOCENE
where we stride in luscious comfort,
and love our children,
hug our pets,
experience
the alchemy of being.

THE FEW OF US LIKE WAR CHIEFS
AND LOVE-GOD PRINCES
STAND ON THE PRECIPICE WITH FOLDED ARMS.
THIS
LIFE
has
been

nothing
for
me
but
pleasure.

The worst adversity
is only a length
I measure.
I direct creation of my bed of eider blackness
and drink the juice of apples
as I sup on flesh of crabs.
I
hold great minds
that lived before me
in my hands.
I KNOW THE MEANING OF THE POWER
THAT IS CHANNELED FOR ME. AND I
calmly watch the poisons
splashed across the land.

(Michael McClure, from Rare Angel, 1974)

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