"always merry and bright"– Henry Miller.
Barry's cyber-art opening
from Publishers' Weekly
Spacks Street: New And Selected Poems, Johns Hopkins University Press : This admirable collection of poems includes selections from Spacks's previous volumes ("The Company of Children," "Something Human"), as well as 24 new poems. The range of rhythmic and metric forms shows Spacks to be a poet of unusual versatility, an accomplished craftsman who is in control of his medium, attuned to the sound as well as the sense of words, at ease with rhyming or free verse. His graceful poems are romantic, mock-romantic, wryly humorous, serious; they focus on love, art, individual character, intellectual pursuits and fulfillment. Spacks can find a subject wherever he casts his eye: the act of shaving or cooking, a pea in a pod, his parents, the sea, the indifferent planets and stars. The title poem is about his one-time desire for fame, desire that a star or street immortalize his name. This collection proves him worthy of that desire.
Barry Spacks' books:
Spacks Street: New and Selected Poems
Email Barry Spacks
after the 1955 Richard Avedon photograph "Dovima and the Elephants, Evening Dress by Dior, Cirque d'Hiver, Paris"
How refreshing, how "us," to see her where
she's least expected, suave Dovima
soigne in her Dior-insouciant sash
at ease before the dark-eyed force
of shagged gray elephants trumpeting.
Their crude chained legs lift-dance behind
her tiny slippers, beast dominatrix
with smooth, coifed hair. I sit in the gallery
watching how others watch her: a boy
in a Mets ballcap whose Dad bends to whisper
what's clearly some ugly-sex joke in his ear,
or the guy who, art or no art, careless
of watchers, hugs his girl with two hands
to her butt – which of them Dovima;
which the elephant?
Wearing my soft black Australian hat
I walk my friends' dog down Panchita Street.
I've been house-sitting, dog-walking, reading all week
Richard Brautigan, who wrote that the beauty
is all in the saying, who would not tie
the bird of lunacy by a short string
to his toe, but rather would let her fly
in long loopy moves, like a book's page-turning,
all in the name and the acting-out
of freedom – who shot off his head absolutely,
done in, they say, by the Bitch Fame-Goddess,
broken on her gerbil-treadwheel,
depressed, uncheered, remaining a time
unidentified so de-headed there
and vodka-drowned and Not, in Bolinas,
California – talk about freedom!
I think he would have liked my hat
and surely my friends' dog Ida, black-and-white
border collie with yearning eyes
who'd herd anything to safety, sheep
or zephyr, doing her dog-work. "Fame
is the spur," blind Milton wrote, but added
little of use in Bolinas about
"these terrifying honors."
(after a sculpture by Judith Shea)
for Peter Munro
A pair of workgloves, clearly male,
iron, orange, cup an ovoid
sphere of pinkened clay with tilted
genital lips, surrounding that clitoral
smile as if
to shield a flame.
This actor somehow failed to learn his part.
The play? It's called "The Future." It's a one-man play!
He hasn't memorized a single line
or made it to rehearsals...if he worked all night?
Coffee, coffee! – for they won't postpone,
and now he sees he never had a script,
so think, what should he do? Fly to Brazil?
Down a hundred Sominex? Not yet.
He stands there gamely in the blaring light,
the little play collapsing all around him.
The audience take anguish first for art,
but there'll be laughter, insults soon enough.
For now they gaze. He bows, he hits his mark,
he smiles and speaks through flop-sweat down the years.
Dressed at last in my suit of stone
how will I throw my weight around?
I mean on the day when even I
won't hurry, but like the dog who leaps
to catch the swirling shirt his master
circles laughing above him I'll manage
to snatch the taunt of the thing, tug it,
grrrr, trudging step by step back
until he lets it go and all
at once it's not worth shredding: I mean
the day I drop it at his feet;
the day I change like a garment thrust into dye.