My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer (Wesleyan Poetry) (Paperback)

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By Jack Spicer, Peter Gizzi (Editor), Kevin Killian (Editor)
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"Like most primitive cultures, New York has no feeling for nonsense. Wit is as far as they can go. That is what I miss the most, other than you, and what is slowly pulling my identity apart. No one speaks Martian, no one insults people arbitrarily, there is, to put it simply and leave it, no violence of the mind and of the heart, no one screams in the elevator." - Jack Spicer, in a letter to Allen Joyce, regarding New York City in 1955.

— From John


An essential collection of a highly original American poet

Winner of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Award for Poetry (2009)
Winner of the American Book Award (2009)

In 1965, when the poet Jack Spicer died at the age of forty, he left behind a trunkful of papers and manuscripts and a few copies of the seven small books he had seen to press. A West Coast poet, his influence spanned the national literary scene of the 1950s and '60s, though in many ways Spicer's innovative writing ran counter to that of his contemporaries in the New York School and the West Coast Beat movement. Now, more than forty years later, Spicer's voice is more compelling, insistent, and timely than ever. During his short but prolific life, Spicer troubled the concepts of translation, voice, and the act of poetic composition itself. My Vocabulary Did This to Me is a landmark publication of this essential poet's life work, and includes poems that have become increasingly hard to find and many published here for the first time.

About the Author

JACK SPICER (1925-1965) published books including After Lorca (1957), Billy the Kid (1959), and The Holy Grail (1962). PETER GIZZI is a poet and author of numerous books, including The Outernationale (2007), who lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts. KEVIN KILLIAN is a poet, novelist, critic, and playwright living in San Francisco.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780819570901
ISBN-10: 0819570907
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
Publication Date: August 15th, 2010
Pages: 508
Language: English
Series: Wesleyan Poetry