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After Spicer
Critical Essays
John Emil Vincent, ed.

2011 • 240 pp. 6 x 9"
Poetry Criticism / Poetics

$24.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6942-4

“Jack Spicer’s ‘notorious crankiness’ as both bad boy and precursor-figure in early postmodern American poetry is quickly gaining recognition across diverse poetry communities. ... No matter what approach is taken to his work, Spicer remains both purposively and delightfully enchanting.”—Patrick James Dunagan, Rain Taxi

The first critical book dedicated to the work of poet Jack Spicer

The beauty and difficulty of Jack Spicer’s poetry continues to resonate with contemporary audiences nearly fifty years after his death. After Spicer brings together work by ten eminent literary scholars to provide a long overdue exploration of Spicer’s legacy even as it continues to unfold. As editor John Emil Vincent notes, it is Spicer’s “boundary crashing”—in his poetry, poetics, and politics—that makes his work so powerful and relevant today. After Spicer extends the conversation between poet and reader that Spicer considered essential to the composition and survival of poems. Incisive essays by Maria Damon, Norman Finkelstein, Kelly Holt, Catherine Imbriglio, Kevin Killian, Michael Snediker, Anita Sokolsky, and Keith and Rosmarie Waldrop, provide an overview of Spicer’s oeuvre—his poetry, letters, plays, and his only novel—and explore his work in relation to queer theory, audience, religion, the lyric, and seriality. These essays give us crucial insights into Spicer’s transition from a regional cult figure to a canonical postmodern poet.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“John Emil Vincent charts a lovely path of analysis twinned with stories relating to Spicer’s often tortured personal life. … As a critical introduction to Jack Spicer, how he worked, what drove him, his influences, techniques, tactics and strategy for writing poetry, After Spicer is a terrific place to start. Deeply serious essays that nevertheless aren’t stuffy in the main, and close reading will prove illuminating. There is no question Spicer can be a challenging poet, but this collection gets to the heart of what he did with a fine balance of approaches.” Colin Cooper, Beat Scene

“Without exception, the essays are beautifully and lucidly written. Vincent has assembled a book that displays real depth of analysis on a complex writer’s work, and that yet reads pleasurably from beginning to end.”
Victoria Brockmeier, Pleiades

After Spicer is an important collection of essays on a figure of increasing interest to all readers of American poetry. Vincent has gathered a range of (mostly) young and certainly vibrant thinkers—almost all of them poets themselves as well as critics. I found myself stimulated at every turn, glad to have read this work, and newly interested in the poetry of Spicer.”Jay Parini, Axinn Professor of English, Middlebury College

After Spicer is a first-class introduction to one of the premier American poets of the mid-twentieth century. It covers everything from his detective fiction to his gay rights activism. Afterward you will know why so many of today’s poets consider him an indispensable precursor.”Brian Reed, associate professor of English, University of Washington

JOHN EMIL VINCENT is the author of John Ashbery and You: His Later Books and Queer Lyrics: Difficulty and Closure in American Poetry, and associate editor of The Massachusetts Review. He writes poetry and criticism and lives in central Massachusetts.

Thu, 6 Sep 2018 11:08:47 -0500