Poets Brian Lucas, author of Circles Matter, and Bill Luoma author of Some Math, read at City Lights Bookstore on Thursday, May 17, 2012 during an evening of exquisite surrealistic murmurings and associated sounds, featuring ethereal noisemakers Cloud Shepherd.
One of the finest poets in the Bay Area’s surrealist underground, Brian Lucas is also a musician and visual artist (his work appears on the cover of the City Lights book Trance Archive: New and Selected Poems by Andrew Joron). Circles Matter is Lucas’ second full-length collection, much of it composed during a six-year stay in Thailand. Recalling René Char in his use of aphoristic prose, combined with the wild irrationality of, say, Benjamin Péret or Aimé Césaire, Circles Matter is state-of-the-art American poetry, veering between the poles of meditation and explosivity. —Recommended by Garrett, City Lights Books
“A triple play. Brian Lucas—painter, poet, musician—eye, heart, mind. Written with a sense of unfolding mystery, his voice on the page is sure in its tone, the ongoing quest and questioning is awake with profound and restless detail. Out of the ballpark. I await more.”—David Meltzer
“Shock is the awe of reading—’a fable folded into sea.’ The elemental act of reading is physical as well as chemical, a catalyst transforming the coastline of clouds into the graceful synaesthetic prosody of Circles Matter. The circles that matter are lines of approach, the ‘Contents’ describing 25 poems and 3 drawings, from ‘Awe’ to ‘Sketch of an Eclipse.’ Brian Lucas’s elegant Circles Matter moves time, in time, ‘Never resting as ideal state.’”—Norma Cole
Brian Lucas was born in Visalia, California in 1970. He is the author of many books, including Telepathic Bones (Berkeley Neo-Baroque, 2010), Light House (Meeting Eyes Bindery, 2006), The Trustees in Spite of Themselves (Neko Buildings, 1999) and Circles Matter (BlazeVOX [books], 2012). He contributed drawings to Force Fields (Hooke Press, 2010), a collaboration with Andrew Joron. After several years living in Thailand, he now resides in Oakland, California, where he plays in the spontaneous music ensemble Chamber Cloud.
In Some Math, the syncopations of poetry meet the (ir)regularity of mathematical equations. Consider the “story problems” of high school math class. When encountering the word “and,” replace it with the addition symbol “+.” When encountering the word “of,” replace it with the multiplication symbol “x.” Now reverse the process. The result is a series of sound poems that both employ and interrogate the global language of systems and networks. Astrophysics. Computer science. Short tetrameters. Long dactyls. 9/11. US military strategy. The energy pathways of acupuncture. The fish ladders of Gmail. The wires and electrodes of torture. The swirling products of global capital. Mathematician Benjamin Pierce called his field “the science that draws necessary conclusions.” You do the math.