Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Chalcedony’s Second Ten Songs by Clive Matson
In mythology chalcedony (pronounced kal-SAID-‘n-knee) is “a moonstone of the feminine, of the subconscious, of the dark, of the bright silver cold light of knowing.” Indeed, Chalcedony is a woman, the name of a character in one of Matson’s unfinished short stories. Her poems are a vibrant call to body and spirit and earth through the sensory world. One reviewer writes, “I love how Chalcedony pulls the poet into a lower world of her own deeper wisdom, an initiation almost, into the ancient rites of love, magic, and expanded consciousness. Matson can't fathom the wild ranges of her awakened senses, and so she has to drag the poet there with images and tastes and smells.”
Chalcedony’s open, passionate voice is an outgrowth of Matson’s first book, Mainline to the Heart, published originally in 1966 and reissued by Regent Press in the spring of 2009. “Mainline to the Heart is an enormously powerful evocation of a state of mind most people barely know exists,” states Jack Foley, 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.”
While a young man Matson immersed himself in the counterculture and in hard drugs, but he emerged later drug-free and with full appreciation of the passion and honesty of the 1960s. 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, adding that his early influences made possible the range of Chalcedony’s voice. Now, six years after starting her poems, they feel like his own.
Matson earned a MFA in Poetry at Columbia University in 1989 and this, added to his early experience and thirty-plus years of teaching creative writing – which spawned the tutorial Let the Crazy Child Write! (New World Library, 1998) – gives him a unique, stimulating of poetry. He is available for a workshop or discussion also, should these be attractive. Visit Clive's website for more info.