Commentaries - December 2008

Spicer: Elegy for psychoanalysis

One of my favorite early poems of Jack Spicer is “Psychnoanalysis: An Elegy.” Check it out in Peter Gizzi’s and Kevin Killian’s edition of the The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer (subtitled “my vocabulary did this to me”), on pages 31–33. (Wesleyan published this fine book. Get thyself a copy soon.)


Three Penn partners created The Common Press — a letterpress project — at few years ago, happily: the Fine Arts Department of the School of Design; the Van Pelt Library; and us, the Kelly Writers House. The Common Press blog gives a pretty good sense of the types and range of projects undertaken at the press.

Writing out Emily

Yesterday I spent the day at Harvard and met a number of very interesting folks along the way. One was Zachary Sifuentes, who has written out all of the poems of Emily Dickinson and created a powerful visual effect which Zach also suggests conveys something of the sound (or at least, I guess, the idea of the sound) of Dickinson’s poetry. “What does sound look like,” he asks, “in Dickinson’s poetry? With their associative logic, tangential reasoning, and circuitry, Dickinson’s lines hint at a shuffling of the mind.