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After Jack
Print Edition
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$19.95 CDN
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$19.95 US
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Wednesday March 31, 2010 in Books

After Jack

By Garry Thomas Morse

Jack Spicer, the barroom soothsayer of the “Berkeley Renaissance,” forged a new kind of poetry with Robert Duncan and Robin Blaser in the decade 1945–1955, grounded in their “queer genealogy” of Arthur Rimbaud, Federico García Lorca and other gay writers. Beginning his famous serial poem, After Lorca, in 1956, Spicer described it to Robin Blaser a year later:

I enclose my eight latest “translations.” Transformations might be a better word. Several are originals and most of the rest change the poem vitally. I can’t seem to make anybody understand this or what I’m doing. They look blank or ask what the Spanish is for a word that isn’t in the Spanish or praise (like Duncan did) an original poem as typically Lorca. What I am trying to do is establish a tradition. When I’m through … I’d like someone as good as I am to translate these translations into French (or Pushtu) adding more. Do you understand? No. Nobody does.

Clearly, Spicer had not anticipated the birth of Garry Thomas Morse.

Not merely an homage to Jack Spicer, but also a tribute to his Orphic conception of the serial poem, After Jack is a palimpsestuous attempt to achieve the dark art of nekuia, to encourage the means of poetic transmission and to divine the polyphony of both Federico García Lorca and Jack Spicer as their voices interweave, transform and become inexorably entangled with a fresh and undeniably peculiar, disturbingly profane authorial voice.

Only via the enchanted act of re:writing can Billy the Kid make explicit the homosexual subtext of Gore Vidal’s 1955 TV play The Left-Handed Gun, or Walt Whitman turn into an apocalyptic figure, or the knights of the Round Table turn into the enlightened circle of the poet’s friends. But then, as Jack said, “we were never friends.”


Read a poem from this collection on Meta-Talon.

ISBN 13: 9780889226302 | ISBN 10: 088922630X
6 W x 9 H inches | 160 pages
$19.95 CAN / $19.95 US
Rights: World
Backlist | Poetry | Bisac: POE011000

QUOTES OF NOTE

"In After Jack, Morse has stepped firmly onto the ground occupied by George Bowering’s Kerrisdale Elegies, where translation crosses boundaries of space, time, culture, and language, laying the common property of the poem bare―and gasping for air. Take a deep breath. Now dive back in."
—Stephen Collis

"After Jack is rich in imaginings—and in realities of Lorca-memories and in shimmerings and reflections of the grail."
—Michael McClure

"Morse’s words are cutting. He ravages language, but thankfully maintains a subtle humour throughout. This book is a love story between Jack Spicer, Garry Thomas Morse, language, and you."
Geist

"Far too clever for its own good, After Jack is a large rabbit-eared radio, indeed."
—Commonline

About the Contributors

Garry Thomas Morse

Garry Thomas Morse’s poetry books with LINEBooks include Transversals for Orpheus and Streams. His poetry books with Talonbooks include After Jack and Discovery Passages (finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry and the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, one of the Globe and Mail_’s Top Ten Poetry Collections of 2011, and one of CBC’s 8th Fire’s Best Ten Aboriginal Books from the past decade). Morse’s books of fiction include his collection _Death in Vancouver, and the three books in The Chaos! Quincunx series, Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus (2013 ReLit Award finalist), Rogue Cells / Carbon Harbour (2014 ReLit Award finalist), and Minor Expectations, all published by Talonbooks.


Prairie Harbour

Garry Thomas Morse
Poetry

Minor Expectations cover
Minor Expectations

Garry Thomas Morse
Fiction

Rogue Cells / Carbon Harbour cover
Rogue Cells / Carbon Harbour

Garry Thomas Morse
Fiction

Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus cover
Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus

Garry Thomas Morse
Fiction

Discovery Passages
Discovery Passages

Garry Thomas Morse
Poetry

9780889226302sm
After Jack

Garry Thomas Morse
Poetry

9780889226074sm
Death in Vancouver

Garry Thomas Morse
Fiction


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We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.


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