May 6, 2020 – An article in the Los Angeles Times described him as the role model for Jim Morrison of the Doors. He later had a long association with another member of the Doors, Ray Manzarek. They recorded together and toured together, with McClure reading to the accompaniment of Manzarek on keyboards.
“Michael was one of the most significant American poets of the latter half of the 20th century,” Caples said. “He had a place in popular culture in addition to literary culture that not many poets have been able to occupy.”
McClure also wrote novels, plays and songs, most famously “Mercedes-Benz,” which he co-wrote for Janis Joplin. With Manzarek, he played 200 gigs across America, Mexico and Japan. This helped McClure buy the home at the base of Butters Canyon in the Oakland hills, where he lived for 20 years with his second wife, sculptor Amy Evans McClure.
I never got any poetry to make a cent,” he told The Chronicle in 2003. But teaching paid, and for 43 years he was a professor of poetry at California College of the Arts. He started there in 1963 and was still teaching when he was bestowed an honorary doctorate degree, in 2005, as the longest-tenured faculty member at the art college.