Tag Archives: White Rabbit Press

Jack Spicer – Contributions to Books

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Section C:
This index collects contributions to books and other publications


1. THE NEW AMERICAN POETRY, 1945-1960, edited by Donald Allen
a. First edition, paperback copies:
New York: Grove Press, 1960
“Imaginary Elegies I-IV”

b. First edition, hardcover copies:
New York: Grove Press, 1960
“Imaginary Elegies I-IV”

2. THE SPICER-FERLINGHETTI CORRESPONDENCE
spicer_ferlingFirst edition:
San Francisco: White Rabbit Press, 1964
(Johnston A18)



3. THE NEW WRITING IN THE U.S.A., edited by Donald Allen and Robert Creeley
First edition:
Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1967
“Love Poems”

Note: First appeared in Open Space, No. 7 (San Francisco, July 1964)

4. POETICS OF THE NEW AMERICAN POETRY, edited by Donald Allen
First edition:
New York: Grove Press, 1973

5. Spicer, Jack and Robert Duncan. AN ODE AND ARCADIA
First edition:
Berkeley: Ark Press, 1974

Jack Spicer – Broadsides

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Section B:
This index collects broadsides, posters, and postcards


1. A REDWOOD FOREST
spicer_redwoodFirst edition:
San Francisco: White Rabbit Press, 1965
First edition, broadside, 8″ x 10.25″, letterpress printed. (Johnston B1)

Note: first appeared in Open Space, No. 4 (San Francisco, 1964), collected in Language.

2. THE DAY FIVE THOUSAND FISH DIED IN THE CHARLES RIVER
First edition:
Pleasant Valley: Kriya Press, 1967
First edition, broadside, 11″ x 16″, 100 numbered copies, offset printed.
[not in archive]


3. INDIAN SUMMER: MINNEAPOLIS 1950
First edition:
Brooklyn: Samuel Charters, 1970
First edition, broadside, 8″ x 18″, 100 copies. Published as Portents 16

4. BALLAD OF THE DEAD WOODCUTTER
First edition:
Berkeley: Arif Press, 1973
Single sheet folded twice to make a four-page booklet, 6″ x 3.5″ (when folded), letterpress printed by Wesley Tanner.

5. POSTSCRIPT
First edition:
Albuquerque: Billy Goat Press, 1973
First edition, broadside, 11″ x 17″, 100 numbered copies

Note: collected in Lament for the Makers

6. BERKELEY IN A TIME OF PLAGUE
a. First edition, grey stock copies:
Berkeley: Arif Press, 1974
First edition, broadside, 9.25″ x 11.5″, 100 copies on grey stock.  Printed by Alastair Johnston at the Arif Press.

b. First edition, white stock copies:
Berkeley: Arif Press, 1974
First edition, broadside, 9.25″ x 11.5″, 50 copies on white stock. Printed by Alastair Johnston at the Arif Press.

7. THE OAKS WEEP
First edition:
Berkeley: Poltroon Press, 1986
First edition, postcard, 4″ x 6″, letterpress printed.

8. JACK SPICER 1925-1965
First edition:
Berkeley: Arif Press, 1986
First edition, broadside, 16″ x 10″, letterpress printed.

Note: An excerpt from the second of three “lectures” that Spicer gave in Vancouver in 1965.

9. LAMENT FOR THE MAKERS
First edition:
n.p.: White Rabbit Press, 2009
Prints an excerpt from Lament for the Makers. Issued as a keepsake for The Book Club of California.

Jack Spicer – Books

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Section A:
This index collects books, chapbooks, and pamphlets


1. AFTER LORCA
spicer_lorcaa. First edition, regular copies:
San Francisco: White Rabbit Press, November-December 1957
Saddle-stapled in illustrated wrappers, 6.5″ x 8.5″, 76 pages, 474 copies, multilith printed by Joe Dunn. Jack Spicer’s first book of poetry. Cover illustration by Jess Collins. Introduction by Federico Garcia Lorca. (Johnston A2)

b. First edition, lettered and signed copies:
San Francisco: White Rabbit Press, November-December 1957
Saddle-stapled in illustrated wrappers, 6.5″ x 8.5″, 76 pages, 26 copies lettered and signed with a drawing by the author, multilith printed by Joe Dunn. Jack Spicer’s first book of poetry. Cover illustration by Jess Collins. Introduction by Federico Garcia Lorca. (Johnston A2)

c. First edition, second issue:
San Francisco: White Rabbit Press, November-December 1957
Unbound (but collated and folded) without wrappers issued in mailing envelope at a later date. (Johnston A2)

d. First UK edition:
London: Aloes Books, 1969

e. Second edition:
n.p.: Marco Polio, 1974

2. HOMAGE TO CREELEY 
spicer_homageFirst edition:
Annapolis: Harold and Dore Dull, Summer 1959
Side-stapled in printed covers, 8.5″ x 11″, 33 pages, 100 copies, spirit-mimeo printed. Incorporated into A4.


3. BILLY THE KID
spicer_billya. First edition, first state:
Stinson Beach: Enkidu Surrogate, October 1959
Saddle-stapled in illustrated wrappers, 6.5″ x 8.5″, 16 pages, 750 copies, offset printed.  Illustrations by Jess Collins.

b. First edition, second state:
The second state includes holograph corrections to text on page 8; holograph addition of ‘Face’ at end of section VI.

c. Second edition:
Dublin: New Writers’ Press, 1969

d. Third edition
n.p.: Oyster Press, March 1975

4. THE HEADS IF THE TOWN UP TO THE AETHER
spicer_headsa. First edition, regular copies:
San Francisco: Auerhahn Press, 1962
Perfect-bound in illustrated  and printed wrappers, 4.75″ x 6.75″, 109 pages, 750 copies, letterpress printed by Dave Haselwood. Illustrated by Fran Herndon. (Auerhahn 21)

b. First edition, hardcover, signed copies:
San Francisco: Auerhahn Press, 1962
Hardcover in cloth-bound boards, 4.75″ x 7.25″, 109 pages, 50 copies signed by the author and artist, with an original drawing by Spicer, letterpress printed by Dave Haselwood, bound by the Schuberth Bindery. Illustrated by Fran Herndon. (Auerhahn 21)

Note: Printed announcement issued.

5. LAMENT FOR THE MAKERS
spicer_lamenta. First edition:
Oakland: White Rabbit Press, 1962
Hand-sewn in illustrated wrappers, 5.5″ x 8″, 16 pages, 100 copies, offset printed. Illustrated by Graham Mackintosh. (Johnston A11)

Note: According to Johnston, “Back of title page has a fictitious acknowledgments list (by Graham Mackintosh) taken from Robert Duncan’s The Opening of the Field.”

b. First UK edition:
London: Aloes, 1971

6. THE HOLY GRAIL
spicer_holya. First edition, regular copies:
San Francisco: White Rabbit Press, 1964
Saddle-stapled and glued into illustrated wrappers, 6.25″ x 8.5″, 80 pages, offset printed. Illustrated by Graham Mackintosh. (Johnston A19)

b. First edition, hardcover copies:
San Francisco: White Rabbit Press, 1964
Hardcover, 6.25″ x 8.5″, 80 pages, 13 copies signed (4 were reportedly destroyed during signing), offset printed. Illustrated by Graham Mackintosh. (Johnston A19)

spicer_holy2c. Second, Pirated edition:
Berkeley: Jolly Roger Press, February 1969
Side-stapled printed and illustrated sheets, 8.5″ x 11″, 20 pages, 500 copies. Published anonymously by Richard Krech and John Oliver Simon at the Undermine Press.

Pirate’s Note: “I only heard Jack Spicer read once, at the the Berkeley poetry conference in july 65. an hour after he read THE HOLY GRAIL, the last copy was gone from the avenue bookstores… this free pirate edition is distributed to make the poem available to those who need it.”

d. Third edition:
Watertown: Augtwofive, 1970





e. Fourth edition:
Portland: Timeworn (Poor Claudia at Revolution Publishing), 2014

7. LANGUAGE
spicer_languagea. First edition:
San Francisco: White Rabbit Press, June 1965
Perfect-bound illustrated wrappers, 6.25″ x 10″, 72 pages, 950 copies, letterpress printed by Graham Mackintosh. (Johnston A30)

Note: Most poems first appeared in OPEN SPACE.

b. First edition, second printing:
San Francisco: White Rabbit Press, 1970
Perfect-bound illustrated wrappers, 6.25″ x 10″, 72 pages, 950 copies, offset printed from the first edition. Text added to the colophon: “Second printing 1970”. (Johnston A54)

8. BOOK OF MAGAZINE VERSE
spicer_magazinea. First edition:
San Francisco: White Rabbit Press, 1966
Perfect-bound printed and illustrated wrappers, 5.5″ x 7.75″, 56 pages, 1500 copies, letterpress printed by Graham Mackintosh. Prepared for publication from the original manuscript by Stan Persky. Illustrated by Graham Mackintosh.  (Johnston A33)

According to Johnston, “The cover is a parody of the cover of Poetry (Chicago). The poems are arranged in groups intended for various little magazines and newspapers, each section printed on a stock appropriate to that publication, so that for example, the poems for Tish are on blue mimeo paper, those for the St. Louis Sporting News on newsprint.”

b. First edition, second printing
San Francisco: White Rabbit Press, 1970
Perfect-bound printed and illustrated wrappers, 5.5″ x 7.75″, 56 pages, 1500 copies, letterpress printed by Graham Mackintosh. Prepared for publication from the original manuscript by Stan Persky. Illustrated by Graham Mackintosh. (Johnston A33)

9. A BOOK OF MUSIC
spicer_musica. First edition, regular copies:
San Francisco: White Rabbit, 1969
Saddle-stapled illustrated wrappers, 6.25″ x 9.25″, 20 pages, 1800 copies designed and printed by Ron and Graham Mackintosh from a typescript made available by Peter Howard. The cover was one decided upon by the author. Illustrated by Graham Mackintosh. (Johnston A48)

b. First edition, variant copies:
Variant copies include additional printed text on the front leaf: “150 copies printed Christmas, 1969 / for friends of White Rabbit, Oyez, / and the author”. (Johnston A48a)

10. THE RED WHEELBARROW
a. First edition, regular copies:
Berkeley: Arif Press, June 1971
Hand-sewn printed and illustrated wrappers, 5.5″ x 5.5″, 24 pages, 475 copies, letterpress printed. Illustrated by  Wesley Tanner. Printed by Wesley Tanner at Cranium Press.

b. First edition, numbered copies:
Berkeley: Arif Press, June 1971
Hand-sewn printed and illustrated wrappers, 5.5″ x 5.5″, 24 pages, 25 copies with hand-colored frontispiece, signed by the illustrator, letterpress printed. Illustrated by  Wesley Tanner. Printed by Wesley Tanner at Cranium Press.

Note: Printed announcement issued.

11. SOME THINGS FROM JACK
First edition:
Verona: Plain Wrapper Press, 1972
Wrappers, 6.5″ x 10.25″, 11 pages, 91 numbered copies, printed letterpress. Introduction by Richard Rummonds. Linocut by Miroslav Zahradka.

12. ADMONITIONS
First edition:
New York: Adventures in Poetry, 1974
Side-stapled printed wrappers, 8.5″ x 11″, 44 pages, mimeograph printed.



13. QUARTUS 1: A LOST POEM
First edition:
Verona: Plain Wrapper Press, 1974
Hardcover in cloth-bound boards, 9.5″ x 11.5″, 8 pages, 114 numbered copies signed by the artist, letterpress printed. Postscript by Richard-Gabriel Rummonds. Illustrated with two etchings by Ariel Parkinson.

14. FIFTEEN FALSE PROPOSITIONS ABOUT GOD
First edition:
South San Francisco: Manroot, September 1974
Saddle-stapled printed and illustrated wrappers, 6.5″ x 8.5″, 16 pages, offset printed.

Poem first appeared in Beatitude, No. 3 (San Francisco, May 1959)

15. THE COLLECTED BOOKS OF JACK SPICER
a. First edition, paperback copies:
Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, May 1975
Perfect-bound printed wrappers, 6.25″ x 8.75″, 382 pages including bibliography of first editions, 1000 copies. Edited and with commentary by Robin Blaser. Typography by Graham Mackintosh/White Rabbit.

b. First edition, hardcover copies: 
Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, May 1975
Hardcover in acetate dust jacket, 6.5″ x 9″, 382 pages including bibliography of first editions, 1000 copies. Edited and with commentary by Robin Blaser. Typography by Graham Mackintosh/White Rabbit.

c. First edition, hardcover, numbered and signed copies:
Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, May 1975
Hardcover in acetate dust jacket and slipcase, 6.5″ x 9″, 382 pages including bibliography of first editions, 100 copies, numbered and signed by Robin Blaser. Edited and with commentary by Robin Blaser. Typography by Graham Mackintosh/White Rabbit.

16. ONE NIGHT STAND & OTHER POEMS
First edition:
San Francisco: Grey Fox Press, 1980
Hardcover in cloth-bound boards without dust jacket as issued, 98 pages. Edited by Donald Allen. Preface by Robert Duncan.

17. COLLECTED POEMS, 1945-46
First edition:
Berkeley: Oyez/White Rabbit Press, 1981
Saddle-stapled printed wrappers, 7″ x 9″, 32 pages, lithographed from the author’s typescript.


18. THE TOWER OF BABEL
First edition:
Hoboken, N.J: Talisman House, 1994
Perfect-bound photo-illustrated wrappers, 170 pages. Chapter one of Jack Spicer’s Detective Novel, edited by Ed Foster and Kevin Killian.

Described by Lewis Ellingham and Kevin Killian as “a satiric look at the private world of poetry gone public in the wake of the Six Gallery HOWL reading of October, 1955.”

19. TRAIN OF THOUGHT
First edition:
Gran Canaria: Zasterle Press, 1994
Perfect-bound in illustrated wrappers, 62 pages, 300 numbered copies. Edited with an introduction by Lewis Ellingham and Kevin Killian.
Chapter three of Jack Spicer’s unpublished detective novel

20. MAP POEMS
First edition:
Berkeley: The Bancroft Library Press, 2005
Thirty-five copies printed: bound in brown paper wrappers. Introduction by Kevin Killian and Peter Gizzi

Robin Blaser

photo © by Helen Adams

Robin Francis Blaser (May 18, 1925 – May 7, 2009) was born in Denver, Colorado, he grew up in Idaho, and came to Berkeley, California, in 1944. There he met Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan, becoming a key figure in the San Francisco Renaissance of the 1950s and early 1960s. He moved to Canada in 1966, joining the faculty of Simon Fraser University; after taking early retirement in the 1980s, he held the position of Professor Emeritus.

Blaser is also well known as the editor of The Collected Books of Jack Spicer, which includes Blaser’s essay, The Practice of Outside. The 1993 publication The Holy Forest represents his collected poems to that date.

In 2006, Blaser received a special Lifetime Recognition Award given by the trustees of the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry, which also awards the annual Griffin Poetry Prize. Blaser won the Prize itself in 2008.


Section A: Books and Broadsides

A1. APPARITORS
First edition:
San Francisco: Auerhahn Press 1963
Broadside, 13″ x 20″, 300 copies, signed by the author and artist. Illustration by Fran Herndon.

Note: Issued as part of the 17th Annual San Francisco Arts Festival: A Poetry Folio 1963, which contained 8 broadsides in a paper folio.

A2. Blaser, Robin. THE MOTH POEM
a. First edition, regular copies:
San Francisco: Open Space, December 1964
Side-stapled and glued into printed wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.25″, 32 pages, 288 copies, letterpress printed by Graham Mackintosh. (Johnston A21)

b. First edition, hand-colored copies:
San Francisco: Open Space, December 1964
Side-stapled and glued into printed wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.25″, 32 pages, 12 copies with hand-colored end papers by the author, letterpress by Graham Mackintosh. (Johnston A21)

c. Second edition:
San Francisco: Open Space, December 1964
Side-stapled and glued into printed wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.25″, 32 pages, 288 copies, offset printed in letterpress wrappers by Graham Mackintosh. (Johnston A23)

A3. LES CHIMERES
a. First edition, regular copies:
San Francisco: Open Space, 1965
Saddle-stapled printed wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.25″, 32 pages, 500 copies, letterpress printed.
(Johnston A27)

b. First edition, hardcover copies:
San Francisco: Open Space, 1965
Hardcover in printed dust jacket, 5.5″ x 8.25″, 32 pages, 26 lettered and signed copies, letterpress printed.
(Johnston A27)

A5. CUPS
a. First edition, regular copies:
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1968
Stapled printed wrappers, 24 pages, 1000 copies, letterpress printed. Published as Writing 17.

b. First edition, hardcover copies:
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1968
Hardcover, 24 pages, 40 numbered and signed copies, letterpress printed. Published as Writing 17.

A6. IMAGE NATIONS 1-12 & The Stadium of the Mirror
London: Ferry Press, 1974

A7. Image Nations 13 & 14
North Vancouver: Cobblestone Press, 1975

A8. Harp Trees
Vancouver: Sun Stone House & Cobblestone Press, 1977

A9. Image Nation 15: The Lacquerhouse
Vancouver: W. Hoffer, 1981

A10. Syntax
Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1983

A11. The Faerie Queene and The Park
Vancouver: Fissure Books, 1987

A12. Pell Mell
Toronto: Coach House Press, 1988

A13. The Holy Forest
Toronto: Coach House Press, 1993

A14. Nomad
Vancouver: Slug Press, 1995

A15. Wanders, with Meredith Quartermain
Vancouver: Nomados, 2002


References consulted:

Alastair Johnston. A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE WHITE RABBIT PRESS
Berkeley: Poltroon Press in association with Anacapa Books, 1985

Enkidu Surrogate

spicer_billyannouce
Announcement for Billy the Kid, circa 1959. Collage on paper

 

From Stinson Beach in the late 1950s, Jess Collins and Robert Duncan published just two books under their Enkidu Surrogate imprint.

The books were distributed by White Rabbit Press.

 

 

 

 

 

A1. Spicer, Jack. BILLY THE KID
spicer_billya. First edition, first state:
Stinson Beach: Enkidu Surrogate, October 1959
Saddle-stapled in illustrated wrappers, 6.5″ x 8.5″, 16 pages, 750 copies, offset printed.  Illustrations by Jess Collins.

b. First edition, second state:
The second state includes holograph corrections to text on page 8

A2. Duncan, Robert. FAUST FOUTU
duncan_faust03a. First edition, regular copies:
Stinson Beach: Enkidu Surrogate, November 1959
Saddle-stapled in illustrated wrappers, 7″ x 8.5″, 71 pages, 750 copies. Illustrated by Robert Duncan. (Bertholf A7c)

b. First edition, numbered and signed copies:
Stinson Beach: Enkidu Surrogate, November 1959
Saddle-stapled in illustrated wrappers, 7″ x 8.5″, 71 pages, 50 copies numbered and signed with a drawing. Illustrated by Robert Duncan. (Bertholf A7d)

Note: This is the first complete printing of the play, after a privately printed mimeographed first printing in 1953, and a second from White Rabbit Press in 1958. 

Jess Collins

Jess Collins (August 6, 1923 – January 2, 2004) was born Burgess Franklin Collins in Long Beach, California. He was initially educated as a chemisjess1956t, having received his B.S. at the California Institute of Technology in 1948, and in his career worked on the production of plutonium for the Manhattan Project.  In 1949 he abandoned his scientific career and moved to San Francisco where he enrolled in the California School of Fine Arts  (now the San Francisco Art Institute) and began referring to himself simply as “Jess”. He met Robert Duncan in 1951, a relationship  that lasted until the poet’s death in 1988.

jess002
Alternative cover for O!, 1959

In 1952 Jess, Duncan, and Harry Jacobus opened the King Ubu Gallery, which became an important venue for alternative art in San Francisco. And it remained so when it was  reopened as the Six Gallery in 1954 by Wally Hedrick, Deborah Remington, John Ryan, Jack Spicer, Hayward King, and David Simpson.

A celebrated painter and collage artist, Jess was a leading light of the San Francisco art scene from the 1950s until his death in 2004, and one of the most original artists of the second half of the 20th century.

Jess was a quietly independent artist who in his paintings, collages, and sculptures developed a complex synthesis of art and literary history. Jess’ unique imagery, evolved from mythology and fables both playful and profound, has long been admired by critics, curators and writers. Using paper collage or his eccentric painting techniques, Jess’ pictures referenced ancient stories and invented symbols. Jess constructed a private world of delicate beauty and gentle absurdity. 


A. Books and Broadsides

1. Artists View #8
Tiburon: Artist’s View, 1954
Poems and paste-ups, folded broadside, entire issue devoted to the work of Jess.

2. O!
New York: Hawks Well Press, 1960
Paste-ups and poems, stapled wrappers, with a preface by Robert Duncan.




3. The Dios Kuroi
Off-print from The Northwest Review, 1963
Paste-up sequence.


B. Contributions to Books and Other Publications

1. Jess Collins and Robert Duncan. Boob #1
jess_boob01San Francisco: [privately printed], 1952
Broadside. Paste-up.




2. Jess Collins and Robert Duncan. Boob #2
jess_boob02San Francisco: [privately printed], 1952
Broadside. Paste-up.




3. Duncan, Robert. Caesar’s Gate
Mallorca: Divers Press, 1955.
Cover and 16 paste-ups.





4. Jonas, Steve. The Poem, The Sea & Other Pieces Examined.
jonas_loveSan Francisco: White Rabbit Press, 1957.
Cover illustration and titling. (Johnston A1)





5. Spicer, Jack. AFTER LORCA
spicer_lorcaSan Francisco: White Rabbit Press, 1957
Cover illustration. (Johnston A2)





6. Levertov, Denise. FIVE POEMS
levertov_fiveSan Francisco: White Rabbit Press, 1958
Cover illustration. (Johnston A3)





7. Adam, Helen. The Queen O’ Crow Castle
adam_queenSan Francisco: White Rabbit, 1958
Cover illustration, titling, and six drawings. (Johnston A9)




8. Olson, Charles. O’Ryan 2 4 6 8 10
olson_oryanSan Francisco: White Rabbit, 1958
Cover illustration. (Johnston A10)





9. Spicer, Jack. Billy The Kid
spicer_billyStinson Beach: Enkidu Surrogate Press, 1959
Cover illustration and seven drawings.





10. Duncan, Robert. The Opening of The Field
New York: Grove Press, 1960
Frontispiece drawing.

11. Adam, Helen and Pat. San Francisco’s Burning
Berkeley: Oannes Press, 1963
Cover illustration and six drawings.

12. Duncan, Robert. Unkingd by Affection 
San Francisco: San Francisco Arts Festival, 1963
Illustrated broadside.

13. Adam, Helen. Ballads
New York: Acadia Press, 1964
Cover illustration, titling, title page, and 15 drawings. Two additional drawings included in limited edition with hand-tinted cover.

14. Borregaard, Ebbe. When Did Morning Wind Rip Callow Flowers in May… 
San Francisco, San Francisco Arts Festival, 1964
Illustrated broadside.

15. Duncan, Robert. A Book of Resemblances
New Haven: Henry Wenning, 1966
Illustrations in two colors.

16. Duncan, Robert. The Cat and The Blackbird
San Francisco: White Rabbit Press, 1967
Cover illustration, titling, and drawings.





17. Duncan, Robert. Names of People
Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1968
Illustrations.

18. Dunn, Joe. Better Dream House
San Francisco: White Rabbit Press, 1968
Cover and 11 paste-ups.





19. Morgenstern, Christian. Gallowsongs 
Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press 1970
Illustrations.


C. Contributions to Periodicals

1. Artists View #0. Tiburon, 1952. Paste-up poem

2. Artists View #5. Tiburon, 1953. Cover illustration.

3. Poems & Pictures #1. 1954. Poem

4. Black Mountain Review #4. 1956. Paste-up poem.

5. Black Mountain Review #6. 1956. Paste-ups

6. Ark II, Moby I. 1956. Translations.

7. J #2. 1959. Notes on painting.

8. J #5. 1959. Cover illustration and comic strip.

9. J #6. 1959. Comic strip.

10. Chelsea #7. 1960. Translations.

11. An Apparition of The Late J. 1960. Poem.

12. Folio 3. Bloomington, Summer 1960. Paste-up.

13. Foot #1. 1960. Poem.

14. Foot #2. 1962. Poem.

15. The Northwest Review 4. Eugene, Winter 1963. Paste-up sequence.

16. Semina 8. Los Angeles, 1963. Paste-up.

17. The Rivoli Review #1. 1964. Cover illustration.

18. The Rivoli Review #2. 1964. Poem.

19. Writing 3. 1964. Cover illustration and five drawings.

20. Open Space #1. 1964. Dream record.

21. Open Space #2. 1964. Dream record and letter.

22. Open Space #Twin 4. 1964. Dream record.

23. Open Space #6. 1964. Dream record and drawing.

24. Open Space #7. 1964. Cover illustration and dream record.

25. Open Space #8. 1964. Paste-up.

26. Open Space #9. 1964. Drawing.

27. Open Space #10. 1964. Cover illustration and paste-up.

28. Open Space #12. 1964. Drawing.

29. Floating Bear #31. 1965. Cover illustration.

30. Insect Trust Gazette #2. 1965. Paste-up.

31. Some / Thing #8. 1966. Paste-up.

32. The Tenth Muse #14. 1967. Cover illustration.

33. The Tenth Muse #15. 1967. Cover illustration.

34. The Tenth Muse #21. 1968. Cover illustration.

35. The Tenth Muse #26. 1969. Cover paste-up.


Further Reading

Hyperallergic
The Paris Review
Siglio Press

Poet as Crystal Radio Set

Although known primarily among a coterie of poets in the San Francisco Bay Area at the time of his death in 1965, Jack Spicer has slowly become a towering figure in American poetry. He was born in Los Angeles in 1925 to midwestern parents and raised in a Calvinist jack-spicerhome. While attending college at the University of California-Berkeley, Spicer met fellow poets Robin Blaser and Robert Duncan. The friendship among these three poets would develop into what they referred to as “The Berkeley Renaissance,” which would in turn become the San Francisco Renaissance after Spicer, Blaser and Duncan moved to San Francisco in the 1950s.

In 1954, he co-founded the Six Gallery in San Francisco, which soon became famous as the scene of the October 1955 Six Gallery reading that launched the West Coast Beat movement. In 1955, Spicer moved to New York and then to Boston, where he worked for a time in the Rare Book Room of Boston Public Library. Blaser was also in Boston at this time, and the pair made contact with a number of local poets, including John Wieners, Stephen Jonas, and Joe Dunn.

Spicer returned to San Francisco in 1956 and started working on After Lorca. This book represented a major change in direction for two reasons. Firstly, he came to the conclusion that stand-alone poems (which Spicer referred to as his one-night stands) were unsatisfactory and that henceforth he would compose serial poems. In fact, he wrote to Blaser that ‘all my stuff from the past (except the Elegies and Troilus) looks foul to me.’ Secondly, in writing After Lorca, he began to practice what he called “poetry as dictation”.

In 1957, Spicer ran a workshop called Poetry as Magic at San Francisco State College, which was attended by Duncan, Helen Adam, James Broughton, Joe Dunn, Jack Gilbert, and George Stanley. He also participated in, and sometimes hosted, Blabbermouth Night at a literary bar called The Place. This was a kind of contest of improvised poetry and encouraged Spicer’s view of poetry as being dictated to the poet. (more…)

Jack Spicer

youngspicer

 

Although known primarily among a coterie of poets in the San Francisco Bay Area at the time of his death in 1965, Jack Spicer has slowly become a towering figure in American poetry. He was born in Los Angeles in 1925 to midwestern parents and raised in a Calvinist home. While attending college at the University of California-Berkeley, Spicer met fellow poets Robin Blaser and Robert Duncan. The friendship among these three poets would develop into what they referred to as “The Berkeley Renaissance,” which would in turn become the San Francisco Renaissance after Spicer, Blaser and Duncan moved to San Francisco in the 1950s.


Jack Spicer Checklist:

Section A: Books, Chapbooks, and Pamphlets
Section B: Broadsides, Posters, and Postcards
Section C: Contributions to Books and Other Publications
Section D: Contributions to Periodicals
Section E: Miscellaneous Prose


At Berkeley, Spicer studied linguistics, finishing all but his dissertation for a PhD in Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse. In 1950 he lost his teaching assistantship after refusing to sign a “loyalty oath” to the United States, which the University of California required of all its employees under the Sloan-Levering Act. Spicer taught briefly at the University of Minnesota and worked for a short period of time in the rare books room at the Boston Public Library, but he lived the majority of his life in San Francisco working as a researcher in linguistics.

jack-spicer
Jack Spicer at the opening of the 6 Gallery, Halloween 1954. Photo by Robert Berg.

Spicer helped to form the 6 Gallery with five painter friends in 1954. It was at the 6 Gallery during Spicer’s sojourn east that Allen Ginsberg first read Howl. As a native Californian, Spicer tended to view the Beats as usurpers and criticized the poetry and self-promotion of poets like Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, as well as the Beat ethos in general. Always weary of labels and definitions, Spicer tended to associate with small, intimate groups of poets who lived in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. Spicer acted as a mentor and teacher to these young poets by running poetry workshops and providing (sometimes caustic) advice for young poets.

In a 1975 New York Times article, Richard Ellman concluded: “Jack Spicer’s poems are always poised just on the face side of language, dipping all the way over toward that sudden flip, as if an effort were being made through feeling strongly in simple words to sneak up on the event of a man ruminating about something, or celebrating something, without rhetorical formulae, in his own beautiful inept awkwardness. It’s that poised ineptitude and awkwardness of the anti-academic teacher, the scholar of linguistics who can’t say what he knows in formal language, and has chosen to be very naive and look and hear and do. Spicer was not a very happy poet. He was obsessed with possibilities he could only occasionally realize, and too aware of contemporary life to settle for anything less in his work than what he probably could not achieve. He must have been a great spirit.”


Further Reading:

Herndon, James. EVERYTHING AS EXPECTED
San Francisco, Winter 1973

Foster, Edward Halsey. JACK SPICER 
Boise: Boise State University, 1991

Killian, Kevin and Lewis Ellingham. POET BE LIKE GOD: JACK SPICER AND THE BERKELEY RENAISSANCE
Hanover: Wesleyan University Press, 1998

Gizzi, Peter. THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT THE COLLECTED LECTURES OF JACK SPICER
Hanover: University Press of New England, 1998

Gizzi, Peter and Kevin Killian. MY VOCABULARY DID THIS TO ME: THE COLLECTED POETRY OF JACK SPICER
Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2008


Online Resources:

Academy of American Poets
The Bancroft Library – Jack Spicer Papers 1939-1982
Book Forum
Emory University – Jack Spicer Papers
Jacket Magazine – excerpt from Vancouver Lecture 3
Penn Sound – audio recordings
Poetry Foundation
University of Buffalo 


References Consulted:

Clay, Steven and Rodney Phillips. A SECRET LOCATION ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE: ADVENTURES IN WRITING, 1960-1980
New York: New York Public Library / Granary Books, 1998

Dorbin, Sanford. A CHECKLIST OF THE PUBLISHED WRITING OF JACK SPICER*
Sacramento: California Librarian, October 1970
[* the first (and only?) checklist of Jack Spicer’s writing]

Johnston, Alastair. A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE AUERHAHN PRESS & ITS SUCCESSOR DAVE HASELWOOD BOOKS
Berkeley: Poltroon Press, 1976

Johnston, Alastair. A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE WHITE RABBIT PRESS
Berkeley: Poltroon Press, 1985

Lepper, Gary M. A BIBLIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION TO SEVENTY-FIVE MODERN AMERICAN AUTHORS
Berkeley: Serendipity Books, 1976

White Rabbit Press

IMG_3062From 1957-1968, the White Rabbit Press published sixty-three books and ten broadsides. It was the primary publisher of the work of Spicer, Robin Blaser, and Robert Duncan—the three central figures of the literary movement first known as the Berkeley Renaissance, and later as the San Francisco Renaissance. 

Founded by Joe Dunn in 1957 to print the poetry of the Jack Spicer Circle, the first ten books were printed surreptitiously on a multilith at the Greyhound Bus offices on 7th street in San Francisco. These early books were illustrated by Jess, Robert Duncan, and Kenn Davis.

After a four-year hiatus, the imprint was revived in 1962 by Graham Mackintosh with Spicer’s LAMENT FOR THE MAKERS, which was published in a small edition of less than 100 copies and illustrated by Mackintosh.  (more…)