Wednesday, April 2, 2014

National Poetry Month: Jack Spicer

"A Book of Music"
(Jack Spicer)

Coming at an end, the lovers
Are exhausted like two swimmers.  Where
Did it end?  There is no telling.  No love is
Like an ocean with the dizzy procession of the waves' boundaries
From which two can emerge exhausted, nor long goodbye
Like death.
Coming at an end.  Rather, I would say, like a length
Of coiled rope
Which does not disguise in the final twists of its lengths
Its endings.
But, you will say, we loved
And some parts of us loved
And the rest of us will remain
Two persons.  Yes,
Poetry ends like a rope.

"A Book of Music" by Jack Spicer appears in The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer  (Wesleyan University Press). While attending college at the University of California-Berkeley, Spicer met fellow poets Robin Blaser and Robert Duncan. The friendship among these three poets would develop into what they referred to as “The Berkeley Renaissance,” which would in turn become the San Francisco Renaissance after Spicer, Blaser and Duncan moved to San Francisco in the 1950s. Spicer helped to form the 6 Gallery with five painter friends in 1954, and it was at the 6 Gallery during Spicer’s sojourn east that Allen Ginsberg first read "Howl." As a native Californian, Spicer tended to view the Beats as usurpers and criticized the poetry and self-promotion of poets like Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, as well as the Beat ethos in general. [Photo of Jack Spicer from Jacket magazine]

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