We’re very excited to present ISSUE 13 of Nude Bruce Review. We’ve been spare-time-slinging this shit—and it’s good shit—for over a decade now, and we’re frankly and forthrightly gladdened by the fact that you’re still with us. But the truth is that not everyone is still with us.
Our dear teacher and friend, Mark Spitzer, passed away a month or so ago. He went suddenly, done in by a devil called cancer, and we miss him like hell. Mark was a big, loud, brilliant, wild man. He was also shy, subtle, funny, and he really, really fucking cared. He was a stupendous writer. He wrote in virtually every genre, translated freak French poets, published like a machine, taught his craft for decades, and published other writers (including us), as if his life depended on it. Maybe it did. In any case, rumor has it that his collected poems will be published soon, so he’ll live on in those verses and—pardon the saccharinitude—in our hearts.
If you don’t mind, we (Andrew and Tim) are going to take this opportunity to say a few words about Mark. ~
Andrew: Sure, I remember when I first met Mark Spitzer, the new professor making waves in Thompson Hall who moved south from his haunt in Missouri to crash the Central Arkansas literary scene, scope out river monsters in Lake Conway, and teach small-town wannabes like yours truly. He was donning one of his casual short-sleeve button-downs (almost exclusively patterned with paisley or freshwater fish) the day he popped into the writing center, exuding this benevolent wildness—an ember, I suspect, he kept lit all his life, kindled in company with his trademark vim, candor, kindness, and just the right amount of crazy. This memory of Spitzdawg is precious, as is every encounter we’ve relished since then. Now, fifteen impossible years later, I am bursting with gratitude for my mentor and friend for giving us so much—his prolific poems and essays, his tireless alligator gar conservation efforts, his zany sense of humor, and his fervent support in launching Nude Bruce Review, even gracing our inaugural issue with his irreplicable presence and writing. And Mark has done the same for me in my life.
Tim: Where to begin with Mark? I don’t remember meeting him. When I cast back to my days as a Creative Writing major at the University of Central Arkansas (now fifteen years ago), I can’t but think that Mark was always already my teacher. It’s hard to imagine Thompson Hall without him, as if he were its spirit, or its poltergeist…. But I remember the day in his poetry workshop when he introduced us to Frank Stanford’s mystico-poetical opus, The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You, a book that changed me forever. I remember that he taught me that the prefix ‘eco-’ comes from the Greek oikos (‘household’), and that the economy of the human race (read: Western capitalism) is burning down its home. I remember him letting me take the work-study money without doing much work. I remember the day he returned a chapbook manuscript that I’d shared with him, with a signed contract and a scrawled note (“SNED, I made some comments on ur poems. LET’S PUBLISH THIS SHIT!!”), and I remember the day he threw a huge party to celebrate the launch of my book and Andrew’s book, both of which he designed himself. I remember the evening at his house when he cooked us dinner and introduced us to his gars. I remember the time he asked me to find him some green. I remember that he kept inviting me to go fishing with him, and I
remember wish I could forget that I never took him up on it. I remember how chuffed he was when I would make him do my fave poem, ‘Sucking on My Biggie,’ at every reading. I remember our last email exchange: belated, too brief. Small wonder that I don’t remember meeting him; Mark’s always been there, and he’s going nowhere.
~ Thanks for listening, folks. And for reading. And for writing! Thanks to all of our contributors, without whom Bruce would have to put on the clothes of capitalist servitude, get a job, and quit his habit. Thanks to Desiree Remick for her judicious assistance with the fiction selections. And thanks to Britney Logan for designing and illustrating the beautiful cover for ISSUE 13, featuring our beloved mascot Bruce in the guise of our beloved friend Mark. (And, let’s be honest, there was always something of Mark in Bruce—our literary lodestone.)
Andrew & Tim