Recent Work By Jeanne Spicuzza


How did you come to write poetry?

When I was nine and eleven, I wanted to be like John Lennon, but most of my lyrics had a simple drumbeat and no melody. I think I realized I was actually writing poems at the age of twenty-three. I guess it’s always been in there.

It’s not my fault.
I was framed.
I may be pretty,
but I’m not that pretty.
I didn’t fashion the tanks
build the guns
forge the swords that slashed—
and I didn’t think Paris or Achilles
were very good looking either.

I have manifested such an abundance of disgust
for my former therapist
it’s almost a spiritual experience.

She was a narcissistic sociopath.

I gave up hating her for Lent.
Needless to say, the results
of my analysis were tragic.

I haven’t felt so violated
since Tim Tuttle tried to grab me
in the wilderness section of my Appalachian Trail.

It was in the sixth grade.
After little league practice.
He told everybody we made out,

behind the science building,
which really messed things up
with my intended, Jim Glynn.

I watched him kiss my fourth cousin
on the mouth. It played out
like a Shakespearean tragedy.

After lunch, which consisted of
Doritos and smoking pot
in the back of the Citgo station,

I watched in total awe
as a soccer ball spun towards me,
going about 6 miles an hour.

I kicked with all my Zen and missed.

Jody Lundgren laughed so hard
she spit out chewed up gas station cravings
and cotton mouth.

We were in the moment,
but we were not constructive
members of society.

My mom was apocalyptic.
She stocked canned goods
in our basement cellar.

My dad didn’t play favorites.
He was mean to everybody.
He made me eat the cream-style corn.

Needless to say,
I kept my Star Wars figures good and packed.
I knew the limitations of my religious upbringing.

Now, I am wary of metaphysical peddlers,
who try to sell unmitigated certainty.
They are pimps and panderers.

The absence of unknowing
is the dangerous result
of cult and fascism.

It is the path to Kool-Aid and other processed foods.

Any psychology that tells you
you can figure yourself out
is inherently flawed.

Understanding your own mind
only goes so far.
Eating with other people is much more fun.

The sweet taste
of honey delicious
is the Great Mystery.

It’s a sex-shaped Popsicle
that pours into the cosmos

like liquor made by monks.

My former scarapist is a demon granny.
She doesn’t feel the Flavor.
If she did, she’d quit giving advice.

She’d be all Cool Hand Luke.
Then she’d know,
and she’d be as quiet as God.

How does it feel to be a 41 year-old grandmother and a poet?

Wise beyond my years. In rhythm.

Do you always speak tersely in verse?

Often. But not always.

I read that you wrote your first play at ten?

Yes. It’s about three very attractive people who turn themselves into hideous monsters in order to find their inner beauty.

That’s deep.

Thank you.

And you wrote your first songs at age nine?

Yes. I wanted to be John Lennon. But my lyrics never had music.

When did you realize that you were a poet?

At 23. I wrote “I climbed because I wished to fly” Or rather, it came through me.

What do you mean?

Like I was a channel for the words flying out of me onto the page like blood and lightning.

Oh. And when was that?

October 1992. I was reading Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling.


For my Introduction to Existential Philosophy class.

That’s right, you were a philosophy major, weren’t you?


Tell me about that.

Well, I was looking for a major at UWM…


No, Milwaukee. I had dropped fine art and psychology. And I noticed I was taking so many philosophy classes.

So, there you go.


Did you always believe in God?

Not so much believe, I’ve simply had experiences that I cannot deny.

Were you ever an atheist?

Yes. I denied concepts of God. I even quit my confirmation class. Then, after studying dreams and visions in American Indian metaphysics, along with Eastern philosophy and religions, Islamic philosophy and mysticism, Vodoun, Santeria, Baha’i, Zoroastrianism, magic, pagan and neo-paganism, new age, cults, reading the major scriptural texts, I sat down one afternoon and read the entire Gospel of John. And knew I was a Catholic.


I wanted to run down the streets naked singing about love for God.

Like St. Francis.

Yes. He’s been quite an inspiration. And Hildegard von Bingen.


Hildegard von Bingen, 12th century abbess, and visionary, leader, composer, poet, herbalist, activist, artist…

Like you.

That’s the sense I’ve always felt.

I understand you’ve written a screenplay about her.

Yes. The project was blessed by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.



Who are some of your other inspirations?

Simone Weil, Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, e.e. cummings, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Parker, Zora Neale Hurston, Edith Wharton, Charles Bukowski, Jerome Schroeder, Matt Cook, Jen Benka, Geo Kiesow, Marc Smith, Jennifer Knox, Stephanie Strickland, Ryokan, Charlie Kaufman, John Patrick Shanley, Jean Paul Sartre, Fabrizio Mondadori, Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco… pretty much anyone who writes and writes well inspires me.

And you’ve made your living as a writer?

Yes. Not an easy living mind you. But the passion remains.

What do you write about?

Many many things. I’ve been blessed to travel and see the world. To meet fascinating people. To love. To give birth, and witness birth. To die a couple of times. To live again. To draw from the well of guts and illumination.

Will you ever stop writing?

No. I suspect, even after the next death, I’ll keep on.

Thank you.

You’re welcome.