Monday, July 1, 2013


by Barry Spacks

Sartre writes that all souls cry out
if you beat your soul...but you must go public.
Gag the poor thing in its feted cell
and you're comfortless, you're humming your dirge
Why me? Why me the self-assassin?”
Tell us then how you seemed to be chosen
to slam your mind from wall to wall
while the stoneworkers swagger home at night
(or so you think) for drink and sex
crying "Damn, today we done laid us some stone!”

Known mainly as a poet/teacher, Barry Spacks has brought out three poetry-reading CDs and eleven poetry collections while teaching literature and writing at M.I.T. & U C Santa Barbara. Over the years his poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Atlantic Monthly, Paris Review and hundreds of other journals. In fiction he's published two novels (the first just reissued by Faber & Faber in their "Finds" series) plus dozens of short stories, long, short, & flash. His latest book of poems, a collaboration with the lawyer/poet Lawrence Leone, is A BOUNTY OF 84s (Cherry Grove, 2012). The 84 is a stanza limited exactly to 84 characters, echoing the traditional notion that the Buddha left us 84,000 different teachings because humans have so many different needs, all of us being so very differently the same.

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