The poem that says “I love you,” James Fenton has observed, “is the little black cocktail dress,” the classic thing that everyone would like to have written one of. Less sexy, by far, are the types of poems left behind by the West Coast poet Jack Spicer, who died in 1965. Mr. Spicer’s love poems curdle around the edges. He was one of America’s great, complicated, noisy and unjustly forgotten poets of heartbreak and abject loneliness. The editors of “My Vocabulary Did This to Me,” a new collected edition of Mr. Spicer’s work, speak touchingly of his “status as an unattractive gay man.” But Mr. Spicer was an outsider in many ways. While he was a central figure, along with Kenneth Rexroth, in the so-called Berkeley Renaissance of the late 1940s, for most of his life he never quite fit in anywhere. He never blended, in literary or social terms, with the two groups in which he might have later found affinities, the Beats or the New York School of poets. “Loneliness,” Mr. Spicer declared, “is necessary for pure poetry.” He drank himself to death at 40.
Source: the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/24/books/24garn.html?_r=0