Maths by Joel Chace


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Poetry & Visual Poetry. isbn 978-1-946104-43-4. 76 pages. 2023.

What is it for text to visually encompass its own meta text. Collaged peripherals, pastiched emanations, a medley of waves, echoes and vibrating lines off the main body of text. What is a poem but a sum of its parts on display. Equations of sciences applied to the farrago then to the montage wit and finally to the hovering marginalia drawn into keen focus. Maths is engaged levels of reading/seeing to get to where the poet is waiting. — Nico Vassilakis, Author of Diesel Hand


In Maths by Joel Chace, poignant, exacting anecdotes, dreams, and implacable observations are the core of every page. Around these are a vivid scatter of math detritus: cut-up citations about concepts, some word problems, references to physics and epistemology, scientific and geometric formulae in algebraic languages that might even be fabrications using those abbreviations and glyphs. These theorems and speculative propositions are thrown as if by chance on each page. This is a provocative and provoking book addressing and dissolving rigor, and framing the living, the dead, apparent exactness, and actual existence. — Rachel Blau DuPlessis Author of Selected Poems 1980-2020


The title poem of Joel Chace’s Maths calls to mind such adventures in concrete poetry as Apollinaire’s Calligrammes, the typographical works of the Dadaists and Russian futurists, the 60s cut-ups of English poet Bob Cobbing, and the contemporary Vispo of Nico Vassilakis. In an explanatory note, Chace says he is interested in potential connections between the languages of mathematics and physics and that of poetry. In Maths, he seems to have found a common ground in the aesthetic dimension; the reader is challenged to combine reading with looking. Propositions, lyrics, and formulae are decoupled from their sources and permitted to float free on the page, where they swim like giant sea creatures or stretch and twirl like dancers on an open stage. The uncertainty provoked by open-ended lines and fragments shorn of context is thus relieved as one visually surfs the angular typographic topologies and hand-jotted equations within the margins of each page. The result is as satisfying as a walk in a park, “replete with approximations.” Through these poems, conceived “to unite highly speculative abstraction and the concrete richness of physical phenomena,” one feels the world in all its dynamism: “No ideas except / in events, often mistakenly called / things.” — Kit Robinson Author of Quarantina and Thought Balloon


Additional information

Weight1 lbs
Dimensions10 × 7 × 1 in


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