A Postscript to the Berkeley Renaissance by Jack Spicer

CLICK HERE to read A Postscript to the Berkeley Renaissance

Early life and work

Spicer was born in Los Angeles and spent most of his writing life in San Francisco. He spent the years 1945 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 Duncan and Robin Blaser that Spicer forged a new kind of poetry, and together they referred to their common work as the Berkeley Renaissance. The three, who were all rumored to be gay, also educated younger poets in their circle about their “queer genealogy”, Rimbaud, Lorca, and other gay writers.[1] Spicer’s poetry of this period is collected in One Night Stand and Other Poems (1980). His Imaginary Elegies, later collected in Donald Allen’s The New American Poetry 1945-1960 anthology, were written around this time.

In 1954, he co-founded the famous Six Gallery, the scene of the famous 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.

For more on Jack Spicer

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6 Responses to A Postscript to the Berkeley Renaissance by Jack Spicer

  1. ybonesy says:

    Another great post. The poem was incredible.

  2. the zak says:

    Check out the work of Matt Callaway and other writers of and formerly of our Boston Public Library… what other names of writers of and formerly of our Boston Public Library are there to add to such a list?

  3. johemmant says:

    Great poem, incredible. Loved this line

    and catching flies,
    And sometimes angels, with our hooting tongues

    he uses repetition very effectively.

  4. Scot says:

    Thanks you ybonsey

  5. Scot says:

    Thanks Jo–
    had some good lines!

  6. […] CLICK HERE to read A Postscript to the Berkeley Renaissance Early life and work Spicer was born in Los Angeles and spent most of his writing life in San Francisco. He spent the years 1945 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 … Read More […]

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