Jack Spicer


Born
in Los Angeles, The United States
January 30, 1925

Died
August 17, 1965

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Jack Spicer (January 30, 1925 - August 17, 1965) was an American poet often identified with the San Francisco Renaissance. In 2009, My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer won the American Book Award for poetry.

Spicer was born in Los Angeles, where he later graduated from Fairfax High School in 1942, and attended the University of Redlands from 1943-45. He spent most of his writing-life in San Francisco and spent the years 1945 to 1950 and 1952 to 1955 at the University of California, Berkeley, where he began writing, doing work as a research-linguist, and publishing some poetry (though he disdained publishing). During this time he searched out fellow poets, but it was through his alliance with Robert D
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Average rating: 4.4 · 2,492 ratings · 139 reviews · 24 distinct worksSimilar authors
My Vocabulary Did This to M...

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4.40 avg rating — 961 ratings — published 2008 — 6 editions
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The Collected Books

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4.57 avg rating — 494 ratings — published 1975 — 2 editions
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The House That Jack Built: ...

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4.61 avg rating — 203 ratings — published 1998 — 6 editions
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Language

4.75 avg rating — 56 ratings — published 1965
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After Lorca

4.38 avg rating — 48 ratings2 editions
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Billy the Kid

4.30 avg rating — 40 ratings — published 1959 — 3 editions
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One Night Stand & Other Poems

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4.39 avg rating — 36 ratings2 editions
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The Heads of the Town up to...

4.80 avg rating — 25 ratings — published 1962
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The Tower of Babel

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4.22 avg rating — 27 ratings — published 1994 — 2 editions
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Hokku Notebook

4.72 avg rating — 18 ratings — published 2009
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More books by Jack Spicer…
“Most of my friends like words too well. They set them under the blinding light of the poem and try to extract every possible connotation from each of them, every temporary pun, every direct or indirect connection - as if a word could become an object by mere addition of consequences. Others pick up words from the streets, from their bars, from their offices and display them proudly in their poems as if they were shouting, "See what I have collected from the American language. Look at my butterflies, my stamps, my old shoes!" What does one do with all this crap?”
Jack Spicer

“Words are what sticks to the real. We use them to push the real, to drag the real into the poem. They are what we hold on with, nothing else. They are as valuable in themselves as rope with nothing to be tied to.

Jack Spicer

“And I think that it is certainly possible that the objective universe can be affected by the poet. I mean, you recall Orpheus made the trees and the stones dance and so forth, and this is something which is in almost all primitive cultures. I think it has some definite basis to it. I'm not sure what. It's like telekinesis, which I know very well on a pinball machine is perfectly possible.”
Jack Spicer, The House That Jack Built: The Collected Lectures

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