54 • Stephen Vincent


Haptics: The Novel

Haptics: to touch, be touched, to grasp; the sensual apprehension of space…

These pages—chapters—are an homage to mark making, one in which body, hand, and pen—brush, chisel, fine, small, and medium—listen closely to take the pulse, inner and outer, noise upon noise, diversely.

Construed in the months of June, July, August, and September 2011, with clipboard in hand, listening spaces include a cold, fogbound San Francisco; the morning kitchen with Miles Davis, Paris 1948, ballads and blues, then back and forth with Glen Gould and Beethoven. Up to the local bar, Irish working class, with Marvin Gaye, Van Morrison, and The Supremes on the jukebox. Up the City high hill to the corner writing-and-drawing bench.

Up 10 thousand feet to the Sierra, Vogelsong peak, with robust snowmelt river and creek, descending to does, bucks, and fawns at play among gray granite, tree, lake.

Then Modoc country with fierce, circuitous lava beds; to Astoria, the wide sun-filled Pacific mouth of the Columbia River; then back down to Ashland and the Bard. Mt. Shasta, so high and white, going home.

All the while a country, its collective core splintered, dark and angry, while the hand makes marks—tender, aggressive, tenuous—peeling back the skin from what is white or dark or thick. Then, ink line by line, to thread, to weave, to shade into one, or several, fabrics, breaking those surfaces apart again and again, shredding each until some fundamental mark joins another mark and another. Until (through all this darkness) something luminous appears among new textures, shapes, erasures.

It is as if an unexpected stranger arrives and, when it is right, astonishes with an absolute, yet familiar, otherness, each new page/chapter a fiction, neo-fiction, a multiple trace, a dissolving dream, a nocturnal cartography within a cartography. Shadows of a forgotten alphabet, a sonic infrastructure spelled out in a forest of fluid marks. A music—mark by mark—now raining specifics: rhythmic, concrete, continuous.

—Stephen Vincent, San Francisco, 2013

Stephen Vincent lives in San Francisco where he is a poet, writer and visual artist. His books include: Piece by Piece (Okike + Redberry Publications, 1967); White Lights & Whale Hearts (The Crossing Press, 1971); The Ballad of Artie Bremer (Momo's Press, 1974); Walking (Junction Press, 1993); Sleeping With Sappho (faux ebook, 2004);Triggers (Shearsman ebook, 2005); Walking Theory (Junction Press, 2007); The First 100 Days of Obama (Steven Wolf Fine Arts, 2009), and After Language l Letters to Jack Spicer (BlazeVox, 2011). Vincent's haptic drawings and unique accordion fold books have been featured in gallery exhibits at Braunsein-Quay (2009) and Steven Wolf Fine Arts (2009), San Francisco, and Jack Hanley Gallery (2011), New York City. In 2012, the Logan Gallery, Legion Museum of Art (San Francisco Fine Arts Museums) is planning a one-person exhibit of drawings and books.

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