After pondering Dorothea Lasky's "Why Poetry Can Be Hard for Most People," today's offering from Poem-A-Day (reviewed earlier) and reading a little about the life of Jack Spicer (1925 - 1965) (pictured), I was inspired to write "After Spicer." Mr. Spicer believed that he was merely the receptacle of language from beyond and that, in order to write good poetry, the poet must surrender himself to this mystical feed. The more one surrendered, the better the poem, but the less responsible the poet was for its success. As a physician, I might call this type of belief system a symptom of schizophrenia, but, as a poet, I believe that Mr. Spicer was on to something.
At times when I compose a poem, I enter an almost hypnotic state, a kind of reverie, and I am often surprised by the results, particularly when the poem winds up with an interesting rhythm or rhyme scheme. When I sat to compose "After Spicer," I imagined that my mind was a Spicerian Receiver. The fourteen lines of free verse that resulted--a kind of eclectic electric sonnet--shocked me.
I hesitated as I sought to categorize the poem. I separate my mainstream work from my speculative work and usually send each to different markets. Ultimately, I decided that "After Spicer" is another one for the S column, if for no other reason than for the way in which it was composed.