Jack Spicer: Checklist

1960s: Days of Rage


“Although known primarily among a coterie of poets in the San Francisco Bay Area at the time of his death in 1965, Jack Spicer has slowly become a towering figure in American poetry. He was born in Los Angeles in 1925 to midwestern parents and raised in a Calvinist home. While attending college at the University of California-Berkeley, Spicer met fellow poets Robin Blaser and Robert Duncan. The friendship among these three poets would develop into what they referred to as ‘The Berkeley Renaissance,’ which would in turn become the San Francisco Renaissance after Spicer, Blaser and Duncan moved to San Francisco in the 1950s. At Berkeley, Spicer studied linguistics, finishing all but his dissertation for a PhD in Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse. In 1950 he lost his teaching assistantship after refusing to sign a ‘loyalty oath’ to the United States, which the University of California required of all…

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