Sunday, October 04, 2009

Spicer Thoughts?

I’m not much for Martians, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Jack Spicer anyway. And now I’ve this question. I have the Robin Blaser edited The Collected Books of Jack Spicer. Is there any reason to get the new collected, My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer (Wesleyan Poetry) by Jack Spicer (Author), et al. that everybody keeps going on so about?

And since I’m on the topic, here’s number XII from Fifteen False Propositions Against God:

Millions of meaningless toys
If the child isn’t born soon we’ll have to close the toyshop. The second
Joyful mystery.
They make them out of trees and rubber bands and place them in stockings and cradles
No one
Knows how to play with them.
At his birth
As he is
They are not his toys or our toys we must play with. They are
Our toys.


At 10/04/2009 6:53 PM, Blogger Eli Hemistich said...

Because if you don't, a kitten dies.

At 10/04/2009 7:58 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Indeed, there's always that.

At 10/04/2009 10:33 PM, Blogger Editors said...

John, I was wondering the same thing about the Spicer book. I suppose it'll have a different foreward note.

At 10/05/2009 4:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John -- Any idea when the GreenTower/Laurel Review Press site will be updated with Midwest Chapbook Series winners/finalists?

At 10/05/2009 4:45 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Hey Editors,

Well, the Blaser is all endnote, isn't it? It's an essay worth reading, of course, but it's quite a chapter in and of itself.

I'll find out about the new one soon. The order has been placed.

Hey Anon,

The 10 finalists are still with the judge! She read through them all, and told me last week she was going to read through them again before giving me a name . . .

I'm eagerly waiting.

But since you mention the website, I should add that the website is in trouble. That's on our list of "total renovation" for this year. Something more unified. Easier to work with.

Wish us luck. Maybe January. For my birthday.

At 10/05/2009 7:11 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

It seems the verdict is in. From facebook:

Michael D Snediker: the experience of reading the new collected is very different. Even the way the poems look on the page has affected my relation to Spicer's work. And it's a pleasure for Gizzi & Killian's collection to include the previously separate One Night Stand poems. I could go on, but yes, it's Worth it. One edition doesn't replace the other. I still love my edition by Blaser, but now the Blaser feels like a happy part of the Spicer archive.


Norman Finkelstein: I've been reading and writing about Spicer since the early seventies. My two copies of the Blaser edition have literally fallen apart from use. The new edition is beautiful in every respect and I think every serious reader of Spicer will want to have it. So Michael is absolutely right. But I have to admit--it looks and feels...canonical...and that's pretty spooky.

At 10/05/2009 12:25 PM, Blogger Don Share said...

One thing is that the Blaser retains the organization of the individual books, and so retains Spicer's notion of seriality; the new one is chronological by date of composition. The new ed. has things not in the Blaser. So it's good to have both.

Some folks feel that the look of the original collections oughta be reproduced someday, somehow!

At 10/05/2009 12:41 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...


I've never seen the originals. I've only known the Blaser, and I've had that one for a long, long time. It's kind of hard to move on.

You know? I get sentimental about my books.


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