The House That Jack Built: The Collected Lectures of Jack Spicer

The House That Jack Built: The Collected Lectures of Jack Spicer

by Jack Spicer
     
 

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

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Overview

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.

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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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780819569622
Publisher:
Wesleyan University Press
Publication date:
06/01/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
290
File size:
1 MB

What People are saying about this

Bob Perelman
“Spicer is an intriguing and ultimately crucial figure in the history of postwar American poetry. A monastic and (in some ways) abstract poet, he was also extremely funny, harshly serious, absurd when his drive for transcendence required it. Yet in many places his poetry anticipates cultural studies. His lectures on poetry are some of the best from the postwar era. Peter Gizzi's handling does them full justice: he makes the liveliness of the interchange clear and presents Spicer's knottedness helpfully without explaining the difficulties away.”
Robin Blaser
“These 'lectures' are unbounded maps of Spicer's experience in his exploratory poetic practice that surprised even himself, as it does us, inside and outside the collapse of language into its materiality, neither transparent nor ideal in political, sacred, or poetic terms. Peter Gizzi's presentation is a tour de force. His 'afterword' offers the most important consideration to date of the genius of Spicer's work and of its dignity in our hearts and minds.”
Susan Howe
These lectures, along with Gizzi's commentary, provide a vital articulation of one poet's profound and desperate calling.

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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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