American poet Jack Spicer was born in 1925 in Los Angeles, graduated from Fairfax High School in 1942 and studied at the University of Redlands from 1943 and 1945. After having worked as a movie extra and private investigator, Spicer moved to Berkeley, where he attended the University of California and started writing and publishing poetry. Together with his friends Robert Duncan and Robin Blaser, Spicer set out to create a new kind of poetry, drawing inspiration from earlier gay writers such as Lorca and Rimbaud and tapping into his studies of contemporary linguistics. Spicer co-founded the Six Gallery in San Francisco, where in 1955 the Beat Generation made their first major public appearance, and started work on his groundbreaking After Lorca the next year. Spicer often compared poets to radio receivers sensitive to messages from the spirit world and his view of poetry as being dictated from the beyond first took shape in this compilation of Lorca translations and poems dedicated to Lorca. Spicer’s uncompromising attitude towards the commercial side of publishing combined with many years of heavy alcohol abuse, led to an untimely death at the age of 40 in the poverty ward of San Francisco General Hospital in 1965.
Jack Spicer’s Lament for the Maker was published by White Rabbit Press, San Francisco in 1963 and in WORK No 1, Detroit in 1964-65. In 1971 Jim Pennington’s Aloes Books from London re-published the compilation as a handsome mimeographed edition. This particular copy of the Aloes Books edition is in very good condition with a slightly discoloured spine and slightly bumped corner.