J

Jack Spicer’s J ran for eight issues: Nos. 1–5 were edited by Spicer in North Beach where contributions were left in a box marked “J” in The Place, a bar on Grant Avenue in San Francisco; Nos. 6 and 7 (an Apparition of the late J) were edited by George Stanley in San Francisco and New York City respectively while no. 8 was edited by Harold Dull in Rome. Spicer believed that poetry was for poets and the magazine had a small circulation but cast a long shadow. Contributors included: Robin Blaser, Richard Brautigan, Bruce Boyd, Kay Johnson, Robert Duncan, Joe Dunn, Ron Loewinsohn, Joanne Kyger, Helen Adam, and others. Covers (sometimes hand-embellished) were by Fran Herndon (Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5), Russell FitzGerald (No. 3), and George Stanley (Nos. 6, 7).


J, No. 1, edited by Jack Spicer
mags_j01San Francisco: J, 1959
Contributors:
James Alexander
Ebbe Borregaard
Robin Blaser
Jack Spicer
Joe Dunn
Richard Brautigan
Kay Johnson
Robert Duncan

J, No. 2, 1959, edited by Jack Spicer
San Francisco: J, 1959
Contributors:
George Stanley
Fran Herndon
Jess Collins
Robert Duncan
Stan Persky

J, No. 3, 1959, edited by Jack Spicer
San Francisco: J, 1959
Contributors:
Bruce Boyd
Ron Loewinsohn
George Stanley
Damon Beard
Jack Spicer

J, No. 4, 1959, edited by Jack Spicer
mags_j04San Francisco: J, 1959
Contributors:
Robert Duncan
Richard Brautigan
Joanne Kyger
Donald Allen
John Ryan
George Stanley
Jack Spicer

J, No. 5, 1959, edited by Jack Spicer
mags_j05San Francisco: J, 1959
Contributors:
Larry Eigner
Jess Collins
Richard Brautigan
Kay Johnson
Ron Loewinsohn
George Stanley
Robert Duncan
Richard Duerden
Jack Spicer

J, No. 6, edited by George Stanley
San Francisco: J, 1959
Contributors:
Helen Adam
Paul Goodman
Joanne Kyger
Ron Loewinsohn

J, No. 7, edited by George Stanley
New York: J, 1959
Contributors:
Ebbe Borregaard
Stan Persky

J, No. 8, 1961, edited by Harold Dull
Rome: J, 1961
Contributors:
Harold Dull
Stan Persky


online excerpt from A Secret Location on the Lower East Side (Granary Books, 1998):

“In many ways the most beautiful of all the mimeo magazines, J had an eight-issue run. The first five issues were edited from North Beach bars by Jack Spicer with Fran Herndon as art editor. Spicer, who embodied the spirit of poetry in the Bay area, collected pieces for his magazine from a box marked “J” in The Place, a bar at 1546 Grant Avenue in San Francisco. A refugee from Los Angeles with two degrees from Berkeley, he had been a student of Josephine Miles there in the mid-1940s. They became close friends, and Spicer participated in the Friday afternoon poetry readings in Wheeler Hall during the late 1940s as well as the readings organized with Rocke-feller money by Ruth Witt-Diamant at the new Poetry Center at San Francisco State. Into the cauldron of poetic politics surrounding Miles, Kenneth Rexroth, Robert Duncan, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and others, Spicer introduced his freest of spirits, sometimes more Caliban than Ariel. Spicer lived for words (even making his living as a research assistant on a lexicographical project at Berkeley). He could be found most evenings in one of the North Beach bars or coffeehouses leading the discussion on poetry, poetics, myth, linguistics, and other mysteries. Like Blake and Yeats (with the help of Mrs. Yeats), Spicer attempted to clear his mind and open himself to “dictation” from other sources, which he devotedly pursued. Spicer also believed wholeheartedly in the necessity of human beings’ helping each other through communication, which he confronted in the editorship of J, a little newsletter of the poetic spirit. Donald Allen acted as J’s distributor in New York (“New York Contributions are not forbidden. But quotaed”), selling copies for Spicer to the Wilentz brothers of the Eighth Street Book Shop. In an early letter to Spicer, Allen eagerly wondered “what your editorial policy may be. Seduction by print.””


Further Reading:

Mimeo Mimeo on J