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PRIDE! 1953 Jack Spicer, Poet & Revolutionary Teacher, 6 Gallery

Celebrating June PRIDE





Kevin Killian and Lewis Ellingham write in their biography, Poet Be Like God: Jack Spicer and the SF Renaissance, that Spicer was hired to teach at the School in the Fall of 1953, “when asked afterwards…what he taught, he replied, “Everything.” Wally Hedrick said Spicer “taught us how to take words’ and to use the library and do research.” Spicer’s teaching “was revolutionary, verging on the bizarre” and his students “were a wild bunch.” Spicer had students “improvise monologues about nuclear apocalypse” and “flirted daringly with androgyny” having students portray characters from Streetcar Named Desire, “One week we’d all be Stanley, the next week, Blanche.”    Spicer was one of the six of the 6 Gallery, along with Hedrick, Deborah Remington, David Simpson, Hayward King, and John Allen Ryan. For the opening exhibition, Spicer hung his poems on the walls.  

For more on the scene: an essay by Rebecca Solnit: http://www.foundsf.org/index.php?title=Fillmore:_The_Beats_in_the_Western_Addition

And some more from Anastasia Aukeman: https://lithub.com/the-art-scene-rebels-of-san-francisco/


With permission, SFAA is re-posting the emails Jeff Gunderson Librarian/Archivist Anne Bremer Memorial Library has been sending out since March 2020. Please enjoy this magnificent archive.



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