Friday, January 30

'Absolutely temporary': Spicer, Burgess, and the ephemerality of coterie

"In an unpublished letter to Robin Blaser and Jim Felts from the mid–1950s, Jack Spicer cautions his addressees against preserving their correspondence for posterity. 'This will become a literary document,' he warns, 'if you don’t burn it.' Similarly, in a list outlining 'What to do with the Boston News Letter' scrawled in one of Spicer’s notebooks, he advises readers of the poetry pamphlet to '[p]ost whatever pages of it you think well of in the most public place you can find — i.e. an art gallery, a bohemian bar, or a lavatory frequented by poets,' and to '[b]urn or give away the pages you do not want to make public. Do not keep them.' In their biography of Spicer, Kevin Killian and Lew Ellingham refer to the Boston newsletter as an 'exercise in poetic community' marked by 'a curious blend of acid raillery and low camp.'”

2007 November: Jack Spicer, 2010 February: mad cartographer (PoemTalk #28), 2010 April: Manroot and Acts, 2011 January: 5 Poems by Jack Spicer, 2012 July: The Collected Books of Jack Spicer