A beautiful black fish. Dear Lorca, These letters are to be as temporary as our poetry is to be permanent. They will establish the bulk, the wastage that my sour-stomached contemporaries demand to help them swallow and digest the pure word. We will use up our rhetoric here so that it will not appear in our poems.
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The act of imagining or channeling a similar writer into conversation pro- vides a direct link to creativity for Spicer and others like him, who write in the vein of queer magic in order to create and perpetuate lineage and connection to the sexual world despite distances of time and space.
This likewise encourages a deeper and fuller imitation of these writers by contemporary kin working into queer lineages. I would like to thank Dr. Susan Ryan of the English faculty at the University of Louisville for her guidance with my research, as well as her thorough commentary on drafts of this article.
Signs and Society, vol. All rights reserved. The two greatest poetic geniuses alive meet, and what happens? What happens when small chance encounters, the possibility of mind and body meetings, become heightened through poetry? Levine follows in a long tradition of calling into being a possible but little-documented relationship between the writers embedded in his poem. Both poets conceptualized anamnetic techniques like This content downloaded from Like translation, the act of imagining or channeling a similar writer into conversation using techniques of apostrophe provides a direct link to creativity for Spicer and others like him, who write with ideas of queer magic in order to create and perpetuate lineage and connection to the sexual world de- spite distances of time and space.
Throughout this essay, I will use two sets of terms, one for conceptualizations of anamnesis and one for its technical applications. These terms will be the guiding categories for analysis and will be used as the framework of the essay itself. Each of these, though technically and formally different, addresses a lineage holder and can be grouped under apostrophe because of its calling another poet into the new poem.
This more honest way of reading encourages a deeper and fuller imitation of these writers by contempo- rary kin working into queer lineages. Context: Queer Inspiration Reviving the search for inspiration in the Romantic tradition served as a spring- board for Spicer and others of the Berkeley Renaissance the half-ironic, half- sincere name self-bestowed on the group , as well as for the surrealists and other This content downloaded from These artists showed renewed interest in conjuring and talking back to the poetic tradition as homo- sexuality and queerness in general became common language for poets.
For Spicer, who named his birth year as when he met fellow gay poets Robin Blaser and Robert Duncan, the queer community of his day was as much part of his desired identity as was the poetic community of prior years Spicer , xiv.
For more on concepts of queer magic and writing, see Kenneth Anger and works inspired by Aleister Crowley. This content downloaded from This forgotten knowledge is not experiential or sensory but emerges from the soul without external input.
I do not propose that the Platonic mechanism or idea of anamnesis is occur- ring within the work of these poets, but that their ideas of writing and poetic channeling parallel anamnesis and thus it is a useful concept with which to an- alyze their work. The technical, applied aspects of anamnesis fall into the related category of poetic apostrophe.
The work of the writer in this vein is to proceed as if one were a spir- itual conduit struggling in relationship with the original author and channeling their energy. Anamnesis and techniques such as apostrophe and dedication are inherently linked. Historically speaking, the dedication of a text is repaid, traditionally with coin but in the anamnetic sense with companionship Genette , The naming of a benefactor through dedication can serve a prefatory function in anamnesis, establishing connection with a desired patron, poet, or author This content downloaded from Private and public dedications are not mutually exclusive, Genette writes, and may include when the relationship is public a well-known writer , private an imagined romantic partner or friend , or other a dead writer channeled or somehow called into the work.
Meter, rhyme, and the power of poetic utterance were linked for these writers to creativity and expression using anamnesis. These dark sounds are the mystery, the roots that bind in slime all that we know, all that we are ignorant of, but from which the substance of art comes to us.
Duende is a force of lineage, of belonging and blood that comes forth in traditional arts and poetry through manifesta- tions of community and identity. In their ideas of magic, this identity-forming power descends to Spicer, Rothenberg, and Allen Ginsberg,4 all of whom worked during the San Francisco Renaissance to form community identity.
See Sanders Spicer used the tarot as an associative procedure, describing the magic of introspection as power the cards held when in conjunction with each other and with a reader. This, like meditation for Allen Ginsberg, was a poetically produc- tive practice. Poetry and magic, for Spicer, were endeavors to be undertaken through prac- tice and juxtaposition.
Not only does Spicer write of the relationality of poetic utterances to one another rather than in a vacuum, he also calls magic and poetry into the same space as the tarot. We knew that—it is the principle of magic. The questions are This content downloaded from Spicer eventually hoped to form a kreis or magic school of writing like that of Stefan George, a German poet and occultist writing during the s Spicer , xviii.
Poetry is, in this questionnaire, community-oriented and lineage-based, in the quasi-Romantic tradition of the poet serving as a chan- nel for inspiration. We tried it. It arrives and the curtains run.
In Spain, no. There is no essential division between the magics of Spain and America, as both exist in the continuous present of poetry, corresponding through anamnesis. Community is thus established through communion, the magic of apos- trophe and anamnesis between like poets. Every poem in After Lorca is dedicated in some fashion, directly connecting community with the fabric of the writing.
Spicer This content downloaded from For both poets, magic was a tangible communal This content downloaded from She sang with her voice in darkness; her voice as molten tin; her voice covered in moss; and entangled in horse- hair; or dipped in chamomile; or as lost as jarales, dark and exceedingly distant. But it was useless. Those listening were completely silent. An- other thing is important. She was tearing to kill all the staging of the song to leave space for a duende furious and scorching, friend of laden winds of sand, that made the listeners tear their suits with the same rhythm as in the black Antillean rite, worshippers clustered before the image of Saint Barbara.
And how she sang! She brought from duende a radical change within herself, in all her forms within old planes, of fresh sensations, totally unedited, with the heat of the rose recently created; miraculous, that brought about an equally fervent enthusiasm. Spicer made a queer communal magic with duende; this was his way of acknowledging forebears and poetics as a lineage as well as a chain of like individuals.
Spicer, too, may be reread using the close lens of anamnesis rather than a distant focus on his at times sardonic and critical perspective. These poets were not only brilliant language workers but community weavers who saw the homosexual and queer people of their time as interconnected to those of all other times, in the same struggle for represen- tation and acceptance.
Even the dead return, but a ghost, once loved, departing will never reappear. Poet in New York. Ben Belitt. New York: Grove. Selected Letters. David Gershator. New York: New Directions. Collected Poems: A Bilingual Edition. Christopher Maurer. Robert Eric Shoemaker. Unpublished manuscript. Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation. Jane Lewin. Cam- bridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gibson, Ian. New York: Pantheon. Katz, Daniel. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Levine, Philip. New York: Knopf. Lombardo, Stanley. Indianapolis: Hackett. Rothenberg, Jerome. The Lorca Variations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Erica Frouman-Smith.
Jefferson, NC: McFarland. Sanders, Edward. The Poetry and Life of Allen Ginsberg. New York: Abrams. Scott, Dominic. Spicer, Jack. Peter Gizzi and Kevin Killian.
Four angels with wings of a heavenly gas balloon piss among the flowers. Suddenly, at the last possible aftter before the curtain falls, somebody kisses the Virgin Mary, and Buster Keaton, and everybody. It means telling the same story, writing the same poem, gaining and losing something with each transformation — but, of course, never really losing anything. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a Lorc of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use for details see www. The Wasps unfinished ms. There are no discussion topics on this book yet.