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David kindly asked me to contribute to ‘Other People’s Flowers‘.  I’ve enjoyed his poetry for more than half a decade now, having linked up on LinkedIn. His encouragement while I was writing one of my more complex books, Community, was invaluable. Community is a political memoir, tinged with urban scenes and community activism. For David, though, I included several excursions into the art world, including a brief description of a book signing and reading at New York University’s student center in 1986. In it, Germaine Bree and actress Irene Worth read portions of Marguerite Duras’ work.

During the pandemic I began writing memoirs of my insignificant life. I hoped to convey the tenor and the ethos of the times in each book. Tally: An Intuitive Life harkens back to the idealistic and sexual-political revolutionary 1920s, quiet by comparison to the 1960s and more vibrant than the 1980s when the aging, impoverished Bohemian artist looks back critically at his life.

Into The Fire: A Poet’s Journey through Hell’s Kitchen is the story of my years at the New York Poetry Festival at St. Clement’s, a midtown Manhattan west side church. The program was founded in the late 1970s when the “anything goes” 1960s and early 1970s were fading and the arts becoming less grassroots and more corporate run. I came to the program in 1978. Many poets, both well-known and less established, read or had their work performed there until the Festival’s end in 1983. Changes in the church and my transition into the community outside its doors led to the next phase of my life.

Chapter 2, Culture Review, of Into the Fire…, includes a description of the church sanctuary and theater space, bits of my poetry, and some of the characters rolling through town, as well as two recommended poems and references to others

Chapter 2, Culture Review – view here

The book I’m currently working on also revolves around art and artists, the inner and outer drama of our lives, and the perceptive and honest analysis that drives us forward, if we have the courage. It doesn’t have a title yet, but it is the most intensely personal of my memoirs. It takes place in the mid-1970s amid moral and ethical unmooring, a lost world in more than one sense. The attached section is one among the several points of view or ways of telling stories juxtaposed within the text.

Whether I – view here

©Mary Clark 2021


© Copyright David Selzer
3 Responses
  • Ashen Venema
    October 29, 2021

    Such prolific and creative outpouring! I was not aware Mary Clark wrote so many books. I do love the poems I occasionally find on her blog. I relate to the stimulating time Mary was inspired by, though in Munich, not in New York.

  • Mary Clark
    October 31, 2021

    Thank you, Ashen. I enjoy your thought-provoking blog as well, recently sharing one of your posts with others in a group.

    In retrospect it looks like the 1970s were a passionate, creative time, especially on the grassroots level. There was chaos and disintegration but also pure energy and determined struggle, even optimism. In the decades afterward, was much of that passion taken over by the rich and by celebrities who transmuted it into glitz and glorification of power?

  • Ashen Venema
    November 1, 2021

    Thank you, Mary. Yes, what’s innovative and creative is soon made use of by profiteers. It’s a mindset I’ve never mastered, nor wanted to. But it’s the way the collective psyche functions as long as profit is the coveted aim. Sigh! Still, there’s something like integrity, which communicates itself to receptive tribes:).

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