Brian Lucas illuminates collaborative ‘Poetbook’
From around 1996 to 1999, Brian Lucas edited a poetry magazine and chapbook press called Angle, the issues of which were stapled and letter-size and included a formidable roster of contributors, including Barbara Guest, Paul Vangelisti, Clark Coolidge and Cole Swensen. A visual artist and musician as well, Lucas hand-painted three of the five covers of Angle, which might be seen as a foreshadowing of his current project: “Poetbook: The Illuminated Manuscripts.”
It started when Lucas purchased a few 20-page white hardbound books with blank pages in February. He painted the covers and couldn’t decide what to do with the interiors.
"Although I also write poetry," he says via e-mail, "putting my own work in the books didn’t appeal to me (although the two disciplines may orbit about and inform each other, along with my music projects, I keep each practice strictly separate)."
At the suggestion of his longtime friend, the poet and City Lights editor Garrett Caples - who is also in one of the issues of Angle - Lucas asked local poets for contributions.
Lucas writes each poem by hand. He then “illuminates” the pages in watercolor. “That aspect is purely spontaneous,” he says. “I endeavor not to obscure any of the text, which to me is the heart of this project.
"By handwriting all the poems I develop a very different relationship with the poems than by just reading them," he continues. "It’s an interesting process. I climb into the poems. It’s as though I’m following the twists and turns of the writer’s mind-paths, feeling their word choices and relating to the work in a more personal way than by just reading the poems."
Now with four of these illuminated books, Lucas has decided to conduct a reading, which will showcase the books and feature some of the local poets therein: a stellar cast that includes Micah Ballard, Cedar Sigo, Sara Larsen, Gillian Conoley and Andrew Joron.
"The reading is for the poets who helped make this project happen," he says. "Without them the books would still be blank."
Original article here.
Thanks to Eric Baus for tagging me (and Chris McCreary)
What is the working title of the book?
Some early poems from the manuscript were made into a chapbook called TABU. So, that’s the provisional title.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
What genre does your book fall under?
Poetry. Maybe prose poetry.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
No characters in the book other than an identity-less “I.” That “I” could be played by anyone willing to be subjected to my imagination.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Mechanical fauna meets
the promised brain of an egg
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
So far, two years.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
It is based in part on unfashionable topics such as possession, trance, altered perception, unexpected physical transformation/alteration, biological atavism, “the visionary irrational,” inner ethnography, animistic thinking, etc. Some of it is directly inspired by witnessing mass spirit possession at a few events in Thailand; the films of Alejandro Jodorowski, the films and writings of Maya Deren, the art of Brion Gysin, Bataille’s “The Solar Anus,” tantra, Antonin Artaud the Momo, Lovecraft, and Sun Ra.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
If the above doesn’t pique anyone’s interest, there are, thankfully, thousands of other books that might.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m currently represented by the William Fuld Agency, Baltimore, Maryland.