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The Green Lantern and Quantum Poetry


A recent book of poetry by A. Van Jordan titled Quantum Lyrics has received a lot of favorable press. From the publisher’s (AP Norton) site:

This provocative, ambitious collection explores the intersection of the infinite world of physics with the perplexities of the human condition.

For more on Van Jordan, including how he came to include physics in his latest works, see his interview in nat creole.magazine.

I am very interested in Jordan’s work for a number of reasons:

a. I am a sucker for all things quantum. The idea of poetry with a quantum flavor, or poetry trying to describe quantum theory, seems to be the most natural fit in a world that appears highly unnatural because of quantum theory

b. Einstein is heavily featured. QL contains a set of poems about Albert as he "wrestles with his marital infidelities as he both reinvents physics and becomes a pioneer in race relations" (Read some excerpts here.)

d. How can I not react to the fractal reference by Linda Gregerson in the following review?

"The superheroes of DC Comics meet the Nobel laureates of particle physics: Charlie Chaplin meets Albert Einstein, who gives shelter to Marian Anderson when no hotel in Princeton will have her; the fractal repetitions of branching twig and leaf vein haunt the son of a father who did or did not teach him cruelty to women: all fuel for the sustained nuclear reaction of Quantum Lyrics. A. Van Jordan’s is one of the most capacious, deep-structural imaginations in American poetry today. These poems are radioactive."

c. The Green Lantern is mentioned. Along with The Flash, this was my favorite comic growing up. I could recite Hal Jordan’s Lantern Oath by the time I was 6:

In Brightest Day, In Darkest Night No evil shall escape my sight Let those who worship evil's might Beware my power - Green Lantern's light

Which always has been poetry to me…

Check out Perry Crowe’s LA Citybeat article on the very upsetting changes to Green Lantern over the years.