Poetry News

Kevin Killian Talks Jack Spicer, Eve Fowler, More, at AMFM

By Harriet Staff
Kevin Killian

Kevin Killian is interviewed at AMFM Magazine for spotlighting LGBTQ+ artists from the past in his work. John Wisniewski jumps right in: "Could you tell us about the poet Jack Spicer, whom you have written about, Kevin? Why he is influential to today’s young poets?" Killian's response, and a bit more:

Kevin Killian: I have sometimes been asked why Spicer has influenced young poets. I often answer glibly that young people are the only ones who can swallow Spicer’s dogma abut the serial poems and perhaps most of all about dictation a glamorous sense of the writer’s life when I was a boy. I respect young people too much to blanket them all with the same wonderful willingness to fall into belief, and also, there’s another aspect to Spicer that kids like, his indifference to organized bullshit, Sometimes, one feels, he’s perverse for the sake of being perverse, a position some young people take when they want to feel different than other people.

JW: Jack was influenced himself by Garcia Lorca and other poets. Was it difficult for him to be gay, a gifted writer, and have his work accepted?

KK: Spicer was influenced by so many poets, it’s been wonderful to work out the connections, and not all of them entirely clear. Recently the poet and scholar Nick Sturm sent me one of Spicer’s unfinished poems from the Goldwasser archive, now owned by Atlanta’s Emory University. Reading this fragment would convince a skeptic that Melville’s Pierre, or The Ambiguities (1852) was a book very important to the young Spicer. His connections to the other poets of the so-called “American Renaissance” of the 19th century—Emerson, Whitman, Dickinson, Hawthorne and Poe among them—had emerged previously, but not one to Melville, I don’t think. And why was a young man a hundred years later taking an interest of the poets of the Civil War period? Marketing...

They also talk about Killian's writing of "Hustlers" with LA-based artist Eve Fowler. Read the full conversation right here.

Originally Published: January 18th, 2019