The House That Jack Built: The Collected Lectures of Jack Spicer
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The House That Jack Built collects for the first time the four historic talks given by controversial poet Jack Spicer just before his early death in 1965. These lively and provocative lectures function as a gloss to Spicer's own poetry, a general discourse on poetics, and a cautionary handbook for young poets. This long-awaited document of Spicer's unorthodox poetic vision, what Robin Blaser has called "the practice of outside," is an authoritative edition of an underground classic.
Peter Gizzi's afterword elucidates some of the fundamental issues of Spicer's poetry and lectures, including the concept of poetic dictation, which Spicer renovates with vocabularies of popular culture: radio, Martians, and baseball; his use of the California landscape as a backdrop for his poems; and his visual imagination in relation to the aesthetics of west-coast funk assemblage. This book delivers a firsthand account of the contrary and turbulent poetics that define Spicer's ongoing contribution to an international avant-garde.
leave this book to Miller’s dismal friends and his equally dismal enemies. Jack Spicer THE POET AND POETRY—A SYMPOSIUM from Occident Magazine, Fall 1949 The opinions of several poets as to the most interesting problems in writing poetry. Included in this symposium are: Robert Duncan, William Everson, Rosalie Moore, Jack Spicer, Leonard Wolf. Jack Spicer: Here we are, holding a ghostly symposium—five poets holding forth on their peculiar problems. One will say magic; one will say God; one
world of sixties self-expression, confessional poetry, and the emergence of identity politics. In contrast to the freedom discourses that were particularly intense and determining on the Berkeley campus (as evidenced in Lecture 4), Spicer’s poetry reveals a distrust of all liberation narratives as merely replacing one form of tyranny with another. In fact, part of what makes Spicer’s work move so compellingly against the grain of his time is its resistance to issues of personality and identity
acknowledgment is made to The American Poetry Review and Boxkite, in which parts of this book first appeared. Frontispiece photo of Jack Spicer courtesy of the Helen Adam Collection, State University of New York at Buffalo. This is the melancholy Dane That built all the houses that lived in the lane Across from the house that Jack built. This is the maiden all forlorn, a crumpled cow and a crumpled horn Who lived in the house that Jack built. This is the crab-god shiny and bright who
exactly tarnished, but is less able to write poetry than he was before, from this. RONNIE PRIMACK:8 What happens to a poet when he gets in cahoots with a non-poet or an anthologizer? When he gets sort of intimate . . . [Laughter] JS: You can see the answer. [Laughter] No, Ronnie, did you have something more to ask than that? RP: I really struggled with that. Q: Did you also mean that if a poet should become vitriolic or very much against a political objective, that he would also damage his
composition (I, 9, 13). The material is composed of the poet’s own reading practice and experience, but it is selected and arranged like “furniture” by the dictating source. By the late 1950s, Martians were more frequently seen as benign, highly evolved creatures whose mission was peaceful. And by the mid-1960s, within Spicer’s lifetime, space had been conquered to the extent that astronauts were often seen as popular adventurers rather than soldiers, and while alien horror thrived in venues