Illuminates Jack Spicer's provocative lectures on radical poetics
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.
A Note on the Text
VANCOUVER LECTURE 1
Dictation and "A Textbook of Poetry"
VANCOUVER LECTURE 2
The Serial Poem and The Holy Grail
VANCOUVER LECTURE 3
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
"Here at last we have the poet Jack Spicer's legendary Vancouver and Berkeley lectures given during the turbulent 1960s, now lovingly and meticulously edited (one might say illuminated) by the poet Peter Gizzi. One may quarrel with many of Spicer's often provocative opinions but there is an urgency here, a life-force. These lectures, along with Gizzi's afterword, provide a vital articulation of the poet's profound and necessary calling."~Susan Howe
"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."~Robin Blaser
"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."~Bob Perelman