Clive Matson

Clive Matson came to New York City in 1962 and was a Beat writer twice: first by passion and inclination, second by historical accident — the postmodern 2000s, by contrast, bring his Beat underpinnings into sharp focus. His second father, from 1964 to 1968, was Herbert Huncke, the man who pushed Ginsberg out of his “middle-class myopia.” John Wieners, Michael McClure, and Van Buskirk were Matson’s poetic mentors, and Diane di Prima published his first book, Mainline to the Heart, in 1966. Matson’s aesthetic grew out of the Beats, but he abandoned their social ethos as he developed. The essay “Being Present: Paleo Poetry” (Ambush, San Francisco, 2017) delineates Matson’s stance. Ginsberg identified Matson’s work as “direct expression” and his eighth book, Squish Boots (2002), was placed in Wieners’ coffin. That volume, plus Space Age (1969), Heroin (1972), On the Inside (1981), Equal in Desire (1982), and Chalcedony’s Songs (2007 and 2009), both separate him from the Beats and display their influence. Matson holds an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University and regards his early life as a source for study of the movement.