The Last Hippy Poet of the Woodstock Generation by C. Steven Blue, Reviewed by Shirley Marc

Reviewed by Shirley Marc

The Last Hippy Poet of the Woodstock Generation, a psychedelic memoir and narrative verse by C. Steven Blue

Sunset West Publishing Group, 2023, 642 pages, $24.99

ISBN 978-0997997507

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The Last Hippy Poet of the Woodstock Generation Book Cover

C. Steven Blue’s The Last Hippy Poet of the Woodstock Generation is an incredible book that takes the reader on a journey via prose and poetry through Blue’s life in the ’60s and ’70s––and beyond––with highlights on the hippie movement in southern California. The writer draws the reader in with the emotions and heartaches of a teenager, and then as a young man, a young father, husband, worker, musician, artist, and poet whose life resembles a rollercoaster ride.

The book is divided into three sections with the first being the memoir interspersed with poetry. The second section is narrative verse on the nature of perception, fantasy, and dreams, as well as a political, social, and spiritual/religious commentary. Section three is more narrative verse but with the focus on the nature of love. Throughout the book is a sampling of the author’s artwork. These made me want to ask for more.

Blue’s unique writing style reminds me of a traveling troubadour. Many of his narrative poems have refrains that repeat throughout the poem. That and the rhyming and metered nature of his poetry sound more like song lyrics, and, indeed, a good number of his poems went on to become songs in bands in which he played the bongos. In his bio and within the book, he mentions he is a performance poet and likes to read his poems while playing bongo drums or being accompanied by a friend playing guitar.

In his memoir section, Blue is inspired to write about senseless violence, the countless lives lost to the Vietnam war, and great men who were shot down. He does this by citing his own son:

I gave you my name

and you gave me a son

he’s starting to walk

I can’t wait till he’ll run

we’ll ride him on ponies

he’ll have lots of fun

but don’t every give him

a little toy gun …

Also in the memoir section, many of his poems are remembrances of loves he has had. The following lines are a remembrance of some time spent with a lover in a loft:

and your downy covers

touch the sky

in your soft feather bed

while I watch the clouds roll by

And these sensual lines are much like song lyrics:

creamy starlight

softened lips

my blue-eyed brown-haired woman

and those curves

along your hips

my blue-eyed brown-haired woman…

The latter sections of the book are filled with poems by an older, more accomplished poet. Below are lines from Blue’s hippy flower-child chant:

oh big sky . . .

are you watching over me

shall I say . . .

what I feel is real today

will they listen to me now

will it matter anyhow

what shall I do

. . . for my soul

And moving forward further still is this wistful rendition of longing:

the sounds of the sea

come back to me

on the quiet side

of my being

the love that’s lost

beckoning me

back to the land

of believing…

Then another poem reveals the angst of the writer:

what good is the writing

if you never see a word

what good is a voice

that’s never heard

what good is the effort

to fight a righteous fight

if you are just denied the right

. . . to write…

And the lament about missing family and the sadness of its brokenness:

used to be

compassion mattered

used to be

kindness thrived

now it’s all just torn

and shattered

—ripped apart


Blue’s visual images are often striking as in:

ten feet high or more

the foam slaps the shore

a suede coat on the jetty

draped there by the wind… 


candelabras —like diamonds

shimmering through the windows

coals the color of Mars

glow in the fireplace

stairways to forever

reveal multi-layered cubicles

and the ceiling


      into the stars

Perhaps my favorite two lines are don’t cry any tears over me / for we met like the wind and the tree…

Blue is a stream of consciousness poet. He writes what comes to him in the emotion of the moment. To read his poetry and follow his story is to experience a sampling of his life, his mind, his feelings, and the beat of the music in his heart.

About the Reviewer

Shirley Marc started writing poetry at age 15 and had poems published sporadically in various publications. She says her most interesting position was as a journalistic writer and photographer. In 2005, she self-published one poetry/photo book, Life Sat Up One Night and Caught Me. She also compiled, as co-editor, a book of her grandfather’s poems called When the Shadows are Long. She served on the OPA executive board for three years and as president for one year.

Special thanks to Carolyn Martin, our Book Reviews Coordinator

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