April 03, 2008

I happened on a book called The Collected Books of Jack Spicer. I hadn't heard of him (though I guess I should of, he did exist as it turns out) but it was a Black Sparrow book and generally you don't go too wrong their books, so I am paging through it. I'll spare you my thoughts on it at this time, hard to know what to make of it at this point. And anyway, discussion of poetry has no place on this blog, dig?

At the beginning is a collection of poems called "After Lorca" that has an introduction from Lorca himself (though he died in 1936) which is kind of funny and worth quoting:

"Frankly, I was quite surprised when Mr. Spicer asked me to write an introduction to this volume. My reaction to the manuscript he sent me (and to the series of letters that are now a part of it) was and is fundamentally unsympathetic. It seems to me the waste of a considerable talent on something which is not worth doing...

It must me made clear at the start that these poems are not translations. In even the most literal of them Mr. Spicer seems to derive pleasure in inserting or substituting one or two words which completely change the modde and often the meaning of the poem as I had written it. More often he takes one of my poems and adjoins to half of it another half of his own, giving rather the effect of an unwilling centaur (Modesty forbids me to speculate which end of the animal is mine.) Finally there are an almost equal number of poems that I did not write at all (one supposed that they must be his) executed in a somewhat fanciful imitation of my early style. The reader is given no indication which of the poems belongs to which categoryt, and I have further complicated the probmke (with malice aforethought I must admit) by sending Mr. Spicer several poems written after my death which he has translated and included here. Even the most faithful student of my work will be hard put to decide what is and what is not Garcia Lorca as, indeed, he would if he were to look into my present resting place. The analogy is impolite, but I fear the impoliteness is deserved."

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