I've been pleased and surprised, this year and last, by my students' positive response to Jack Spicer's "Imaginary Elegies." Granted, this is coming after the NY School folks ("they don't make a lick of sense to me"), but still. We did a group reading of I-IV today and a free-write during and after (a version of C. Bernstein's "wreading" - any genre). Here's what I came up (or down) with:
"Time does not finish a poem - I wonder what he meant by that. Why would it? Waiting on the spooks to do it for you? God has 2 eyes - one for all the things that aren't, one to searchlight all the things that are. He can see the forms, but you can't. Ha ha ha da dada dada. What camera can see everything at once? A surveillance camera, of course. The rest of us get a glimpse, but it's usually a glimpse of myself - or the object of my particular desire, not the Big Symbol. Whatever happens to the medium when the spooks are gone? He or she goes back to bein gthe poet with the thick lips, blue eyes, and elegant wardrobe. But - the birds are in flight, headed beyond the edge of the poem - we can believe them, even floow them, with our water-wings. The big things are adjuncts to our absolute temporality - real or not. That's what the moon is for and why it maddens. Twilight - the in-between - nor sun nor moon - the veil is thin and free from gods. Light is too much exposure - burns the skin. The poet replaces that?? The poet replaces the monster? Let the earth dance, instead. Unblind the dreamers. And there are Yeats' creepy old dummies at the ladder's start - back down with the shadows of the art. Keep telling yourself the sun and moon are none."
Question: the version that Spicer reads in that 1965 recording is different - and longer - than the version in Allen or Gizzi/Killian. Is that longer version published anywhere? One Night Stand? Exact Change Yearbook 1?
It's remarkable that people who can't abide Yeats like these poems.
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