Spencer Reece, far from being a careerist poet like the sort that Snark hates so much, is one of many new names to bat about. Unlike most new names, he is not in his 30s or 20s, does not belong to the Iowa or Brooklyn or some other scene that breeds namey names but he is homosexual, gay, what-have-you. He is quite fond of James Merrill, dresses snappy and has a soft voice. He looks like Henri Cole's little brother and Cole even vouched for him as a new important voice on a feature
for the Academy of American Poets. Cole even goes so far to claim that "[t]hough the thought of Spencer Reece working unratified in isolation for twenty years is troubling to me, in an increasingly homogeneous and academic poetry community, it seems a triumphant destiny for this poet." Holy shit! Is he kidding? I am afraid not though one has to wonder what Cole means by all that. I am not even sure what folks mean by "academic poetry" though last I heard, Cole is slumming it at Bennington & Smith, not to mention he has been anointed by Harold Bloom, lapped up by Helen Vendler and even given the Kingsley Tufts ($100,000!!!) for his bedazzling dollar store solipsism Middle Earth
. (Agent Trochee will admit he likes most of it and was disappointed by Franz Wright getting the Pulitzer instead but that is for another day).
Anyway, Spencer Reece. Too bad he sucks eggs. After all, how many more poets do we need clanging pots about scenery, being gay in the country or in the city, the endless variations of being boring? In an interview
in the New Yorker, Alice Quinn has the audicity to relate Reece's work to a quote taken from a letter by Elizabeth Bishop: "What one seems to want in art, in experiencing it, is the same thing that is necessary for its creation, a self-forgetful, perfectly useless concentration." Reece gladly takes the bait and states that he attempted to follow Bishop's resistance to her dark side but he misses the point. Whereas Bishop takes on the grandness of life & humanity by squaring the details and carrying over the transcendant, Reece flounders in the stink of his sexuality, in the tailored banality of his useless concentration, hardly forgetful of himself.
Spencer Reece! You get Agent Trochee's stamp of snark. Your trim look, your shiny black shoes, your canary voice, your George Herbert-James Merrill worshipping ass, your Mall of Americas-Minnesota backwoods ornamented poems, these we add to the altar of snark. May you and your pens run dry.