The House That Jack Built: The Collected Lectures of Jack Spicer / Edition 1

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Within THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT resides in one volume 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 thorough documentation of Spicer's unorthodox poetic vision is an authoritative edition of an underground classic.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Spicer died at 40 in 1965, having published a few titles and served as poetry editor of the Nation. He left behind a pile of papers that have been sifted through over the decades. The best of his total output appears in this collection (nearly 20 percent has never seen the light of day), giving intent readers the chance to discover (or rediscover) Spicer's brand of sharp, acidulous, glittery, insightful poetry.

—Barbara Hoffert
Library Journal
A key player in the San Francisco poetry and gay cultures of the 1940s and 1950s, Spicer (The Tower of Babel, Talisman, 1994) had, as editor Gizzi argues somewhat awkwardly, "all the curious attractions one needs to become a cult figure: minor status in his life, alien to most middle-class conventions, unhygienic, singular to a fault, and absolute." Together, these two volumes portray Spicer as a verbose but physically ugly and bad-tempered wretch whom some for whatever reason found magnetic. Part of Spicer's problem (and perhaps his allure) was his perverse antagonism to the glamour of Po Biz: his biographers quote an associate who remembers him saying, "If they think I'm going to be like Allen Ginsberg and fly around and sleep in people's houses and eat their meals, they're crazy." Gizzi (Artificial Heart, Burning Deck, 1994) is a poet and professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and freelance writers Ellingham and Killian are also California-based. Together, their books leave the reader with an impression of someone more important as a key historical figure in the postwar gay, San Francisco, and beat scenes than as a writer with anything approaching the transcendence achieved by the Ginsberg whom Spicer both despised and envied. For major academic collections only.David Kirby, Florida State Univ., Tallahassee
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819563408
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 7/29/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 290
  • Sales rank: 1,185,029
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

PETER GIZZI is the author of the poetry collections Artificial Heart (1997) and Periplum (1992), and he is the recipient of a Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets. He is Assistant Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz
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Table of Contents

A Note on the Text
Dictation and “A Textbook of Poetry”
The Serial Poem and The Holy Grail
Poetry in Process and Book of Magazine Verse
Poetry and Politics
Jack Spicer and the Practice of Reading
Uncollected Prose and Final Interview
Bibliography and Works Cited
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