Jack Spicer wrote what he called ‘dictated poetry.’ To Spicer, a cipher, the work came from outside, his role as a poet was simply to transcribe the poem as it is dictated. This is because a poem cannot express anything of the poet’s desires—according to Spicer the poem in fact says the opposite of the poet’s intention. The poem itself has its own desires. Never write what you like; the lines you like are the ones that screw up the poem. The poet after writing a poem should feel empty, as though he didn’t say anything.
A poem originates as a desire, before language, contrary to expression. Spicer, in a famous series of lectures delivered in Vancouver in 1957, describes himself as a host, transmitting this desire that originates from a source outside. The source is unimportant. It is with your own words, your own voice that you have to bring form to the poem. You are stuck with words. You speak the words. But it does not follow that you wrote those words. Mirror makers know the secret – one does not make a mirror to resemble a person, one brings a person to the mirror.
Corner Door is a project space runs by Oscar Tuazon and located 3351 Fletcher Drive, Los Angeles.
The show is on until beginning of March.