Note: Lacking a tradition of investigative poetry in their cultures, Bolaňo and Sebald had to invent their own detectives. All this is neatly presented in his textbook for teaching Investigative Creative Writing. His working syllabus defines ICW as “a free-based collage that incorporates data, history, politics, images, quotes, references, and other bits of textual information, all bound together by a biased sense of humor”; a form good for “investigating monsters in our midst.” The prehistoric snout he uses for poking into old business.
Richard Blevins, from the Afterword
All who know that literature is composed of the compost of notebooks, marginalia, juvenilia, ephemera and cast offs can study here this maker Mark Spitzer's final clippings from his own mortal garden: worms, roots, aphids, grubs, eggshell, and the last flaring blossoms he raised from this bed even as he settled into his own. What a wilderness he was. Study this lover.
Spuyten Duyvil's final collection of the late great Mark Spitzer's poetry is a beautiful monstrosity of just under a thousand pages, a vast country of many flavors of poetries and moods. Sptizer had an enviable faculty for expressing his every thought with a singular grace, whether it was the recalling of a road trip turned life-inquiry, his environmental advocacy, or a defense of the ancient fish species of gar. This volume is both rich in pleasures and encyclopedic in range and ambition. I will be keeping it very close at hand, not only for when I yearn to enjoy the music of his cascading lines, but also when I need to hear his unconventional wisdom and alacrity.
Mark Spitzer lived a life of monstrous passion, continuous inspiration, and constant fascination; but at 57 years, it wasn’t long enough. He published nearly forty books: most about fish and the environment, plus novels, memoirs, literary translations, creative writing pedagogy, and, of course, poetry. He was a creative writing professor at Truman State University in Missouri and the University of Central Arkansas where he designed and founded the Arkansas Writers MFA Workshop. He also edited the legendary Toad Suck Review, which evolved into the poetry series Toad Suck Éditions. Having lived in the American North, South, Midwest, and West, and having traveled as much of the world as possible, he spent the coda of his most epic poem (his own damn life) loving family and friends in historic Hyde Park, New York.