Poet Be Like God: Jack Spicer and the San Francisco Renaissance

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Wesleyan University Press, Jul 29, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 439 pages
20 Reviews
Jack Spicer, unlike his contemporaries Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Gary Snyder, was a poet who disdained publishing and relished his role as a social outcast. He died in 1965 virtually unrecognized, yet in the following years his work and thought have attracted and intrigued an international audience. Now this comprehensive biography gives a pivotal poet his due. Based on interviews with scores of Spicer's contemporaries, Poet Be Like God details the most intimate aspects of Spicer's life—his family, his friends, his lovers—illuminating not only the man but also many of his poems.

Such illumination extends also to the works of others whom Spicer came to know, including the writers Frank O'Hara, Robert Duncan, Denise Levertov, Helen Adam, Robin Blaser, Charles Olson, Philip K. Dick, Richard Brautigan, and Marianne Moore and the painters Jess, Fran Herndon, and Jay DeFeo. The resulting narrative, an engaging chronicle of the San Francisco Renaissance and the emergence of the North Beach gay scene during the 50s and 60s, will be indispensable reading for students of American literature and gay studies.
  

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Review: Poet Be Like God

User Review  - Chris Schaeffer - Goodreads

I was talking to a guy about the new Robert Duncan bio, and it seems like this and that collide in interesting ways, with a secret biography of Robin Blaser existing in between them. Kind of cool that Duncan is the ambassador from Venus and Spicer is an invader from Mars. Read full review

Review: Poet Be Like God

User Review  - Goodreads

I was talking to a guy about the new Robert Duncan bio, and it seems like this and that collide in interesting ways, with a secret biography of Robin Blaser existing in between them. Kind of cool that Duncan is the ambassador from Venus and Spicer is an invader from Mars. Read full review

Contents

Jack and Holt Spicer at summer camp
4
Ariel Reynolds
15
Chapter Two After Berkeley
34
Spicer in Minneapolis
36
Jack Spicer at the time of his involvement with the Mattachine Society
47
Opening of the 6 Gallery
59
Chapter Three The Poet in New York and Boston
63
Chapter Four The Whole Boon of His Fertility
78
Chapter Seven Heads of the Town
180
In happier timesJess Ebbe Borregaard and Jack Spicer
194
Nemi Frost and Tom Field
212
Chapter Eight The Holy Grail
220
Robin Blaser
233
Chapter Nine The Long Silence
246
Ron Primack
247
Harold and Dora Dull
270

Magic Workshop
82
Ida Hodes Jack Spicer Ruth WittDiamant Robert Duncan in 1957
93
Sunday afternoon at Joe and Carolyn Dunns apartment
107
Chapter Five Honey in the Groin
118
Russell FitzGerald
119
Some of the Maidens
126
Chapter Six The Hell of Personal Relations
140
George Stanley
144
Jack Spicer with the Head of Spicer
153
List oillustrations
179
Chapter Ten Crisis
278
Jack Spicer etching by Ariel
308
Chapter Eleven The Chill in My Bones
317
Jack Spicer clowning around to amuse the kids
331
Chapter Twelve Last Summer
344
Jack Spicer and Sister Mary Norbert Korte
351
Les Chimeres
366
Index
419
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About the author (1998)

LEWIS ELLINGHAM is a freelance editor and writer and author of The Jefferson Airplane (1972). Writer KEVIN KILLIAM’s recent books are Little Men (1997), Arctic Summer (1997), and Argento Series (1997). Both live in San Francisco.

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