If you’re interested in receiving a review copy of Mainline to the Heart and Other Poems by Clive Matson please send inquires to Jacqueline Lasahn, Publicist at cosmicdance [at] comcast [dot] net.
This new edition of Matson’s first poems includes all of Diane di Prima’s “Poets Press” version – 1,000 copies were sold out in 1966-67 – and adds significant uncollected pieces from the same period.
These turbulent poems celebrate a place where emotion, sex, and religion come together with overwhelming intensity. Baudelaire suggest this trinity resides at the core of human experience, and Steve Kowit calls the poems “Naked paeans…the wailing, chaotic lyricism of youth sung in the key of compulsive sexual frenzy – an orgasmic, rapturous celebration of lust, drugs, and life.”
We believe Matson’s open, accessible style will resonate with many readers, particularly those new to Bohemian writing. Mainline does owe the range and depth of its vision to the Beats, especially to John Wieners and Alden van Buskirk. But in Matson’s work the be-bop and cool riffs are often truncated or undercut, to arrive quickly and precisely at the point.
“Mainline to the Heart is an enormously powerful evocation of a state of mind most people barely know exists,” states Jack Foley, indicating the book is familiar to a few Beat writers. At the time the poems did not spread into the wider culture, partly because they were written in the shadow of Beat icons, and partly because the poems cast a sobering light on 1960s exuberance. The poet himself did not contribute to their success: he felt overly attracted to hard drugs and desperately needed to put the book behind him, to grow and develop on his own, away from Beat ethics.
Clive Matson did emerge drug-free from those years and with full appreciation of their passion and honesty. These qualities are crucially important, he thinks, for the current era. “Coming to terms with my youthful, energetic voice has been a challenge,” he admits. “It helps that I hear, in these poems, both an urgent need to connect and full cognizance of the difficulties.”
Regent Press presents the original, dramatic cover by Ross Perez in a large format, and provides a sense of the first Mainline to the Heart by including drawings by Erin Matson and a contemporaneous photo of the poet.