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Quantum Lyrics

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  177 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Employing both narrative and cinematic structure, A. Van Jordan re-creates the lives of his subjects: Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, comic-book superheroes (The Green Lantern, The Atom), along with aspects of himself revealed in poems of recollection and loss. With lyric intensity he suggests that contemporary physicists are also metaphysical poets.
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published July 17th 2007 by W. W. Norton Company
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  177 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Mar 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A. Van Jordan is a damn fine poet.
B. And I dare you to type his name at the beginning of a sentence and press return because due to the nature of Jordan’s name your word processor will most likely predict the formatting you see here.
C. Which is a little inappropriate and entirely wrong.
D. But there you have it, Van. Even Your Name has stirred a poetic form.

If Americans are getting dumber and not reading, then they’re certainly not reading poetry. And I can’t think of a medium more appropriate f
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I will be honest, I was expecting a bunch of lyrical calisthenics. Pyrotechnics, flashes, episodic visions. But all be told, this collection was much more of a slow burner, more meditative and deliberate. Methodical. It was deeply affecting, and also many realize how much of a share contact with the author given I too am black and I too I'm almost 40. I am mostly a fan of the poet Rilke and his high vatic voice. But here, you find a poet trying to be no one but himself, resonating with his own s ...more
Sam (Hissing Potatoes)
The kind of poetry that pretends edgy phrases and random flashbacks are somehow deep and meaningful.
Tara Betts
In QUANTUM LYRICS, Jordan is probably doing his most skillful blending of personal narrative, persona poem and historically-influenced poems. I really enjoyed this delicate balance in Natasha Trethewey's NATIVE GUARD, but it's really the poems like "Que Serra Serra," "The First Law of Motion" and the whole Einstein series. Apparently, the life of Einstein is just as interesting as his political stances. Not only did Einstein take vocal stances against racism, but his first wife Mileva Maric was ...more
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Superheroes? Feynman and Einstein? German cinema? Jazz and R&B? All of these and more are topics in Quantum Lyrics by A. Van Jordan. Jordan speaks about his awkward adolescence, racism, and random encounters at fast food joints. He also writes poems about scenes in comic books, exploring their implications and the inner monologue of the heroes. The works I found to be both brilliant and most interesting were his series of poems based on Einstein's life: his relationships and infidelity, his theo ...more
Dec 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
loved the reach of Macnolia, and how there were so many stories that seemed to get told through Van Jordan's forms and characters. Quantum Lyrics has some splendid sections, but I feel like some sections are too held back, or sculpted. It's a wonderful book, and must be read ... the Einstein letters are amazing. ...more
Apr 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Poetry. Jordan writes about science, superheros, and race in various combinations, some of which seem like they shouldn’t work but do, almost all of which are incredibly thinky and cool. As I’m writing this, I really wish I still had this book to look through and reread; it’s one I really wish I could have stolen from the library.
Marshall Cain
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book of poetry, especially his Einstein poems. Unlike most poetry books, which feel like books about trees and nothing much else, Van Jordan takes what is familiar to me and mine, comics, history, culture, and morphs that for his poems. Worth a read.
Michael Mann
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fascinating book of poetry. Mixing reflections on the death of his father, the internal struggles of The Flash, The Green Lantern, and The Atom, and a long series of pieces about Einstein and his love life. It works brilliantly.
Mar 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I fucking love this book & I don't want anyone to read it ...more
Ava Butzu
Jul 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Holy zeus. This is a terrifically configured symphony of poems. Coolest concept for organizing life narratives.
Jan 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Poetry derived from the influence of quantum physics and DC comics. How can you not love that?
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
These poems were absolutely gorgeous. I'm so glad I read this book.

Nov 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Exhilarating. I've never used that word to describe anything before, but it suits this book best. ...more
Dec 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Feb 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My friend, my frat brother...what an inspiring read.
Michelle Hoogterp
Jun 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Absolutely wonderful!
Aug 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
Quantum Lyrics in Flux

Quantum Lyrics explores the poetic in scientific polemics. Jordan writes in equations, including historical figures, comic book characters, the speaker’s family and acquaintances. Certain pieces, specifically “R&B” and “The Green Lantern Unlocks the Secrets of Black Body Theory,” stand out, capturing the simplicity, elegance, and austere beauty (and humor) of the scientific. Other poems seem pedantic in comparison, as if they were merely an exercise in completion.

As a vol
Jan 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
This book was pretty disappointing after the brilliance of MACNOLIA. Here AVJ completes a series of poems mostly about Einstein (also about some comic book characters) and does so using the schtick of involving language in mathematics or einsteinian physics in his descriptions (mostly persona poem monologues) of human situations - these overlays are obvious and uninteresting - relativity being used to explain how time seems to slow when you are with a beautiful woman, the simple forms of equatio ...more
Derrick Carr
Sep 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I appreciated this book for it's clarity, Jordan's matter-of-fact way of writing, and the concepts he employed to do his work. Personally, the book is inspiring to me because the conceits he used for his superhero poems are things I've been wanting to do for years and felt I needed permission, precedent, or a blueprint.

For all of the good things this book did for me and the emotions it evoked, I don't recall being floored by too much in it. It was solid. I'm glad I read it. This copy was borrow
Jul 08, 2007 rated it liked it
great collection of poems about physicists -einstein, feynman, schrodinger- and science heroes -the flash, the green lantern, and the atom. the atom sequence of poems is amazing & has great titles like "The Superposition of the Atom" & "The Uncertainty of the Atom" & "The Atom and Hawkman Discuss Metaphysics". The notes & bibliographic sources in the back are really keen too. ...more
May 07, 2016 rated it liked it
I loved Macnolia, but this collection disappointed me. Perhaps because I have encountered the idea of physics as poetry many times, so I'm picky about its execution. To me, neither the scientists nor superheroes seemed all that successful as poetic devices. Although there were some very beautiful moments, the overall framework never quite did what it wanted to do, I think. ...more
Katey Schultz
Mar 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, lyrical, smart, and deeply imagined. Narrative after interwoven narrative fills this rich collection's pages, and it's impossible to appreciate all the richness with one reading. A. Van Jordan is a master and this book, perhaps his opus, invites readers into his layered and thought-provoking world. ...more
Greg Bem
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Sadly Mr. Jordan mistakes the essay for a lyric. Some great imagery and perspective here, but as poetry: terrorizing.
Tried to get through this book of poetry, failed. A shame -I had been intrigued by the premiss, topic and the author himself.
Nov 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
for some reason I was expecting the poems to be about physics equations. maybe that's why I was disappointed? ...more
Mar 17, 2008 rated it liked it
sometimes mediocre
Antoine  McGrath
Apr 14, 2009 rated it liked it
Reminiscent of Einstein's Dreams in character, but with far less concepts and more attention to words themselves. A bridge between Einstein's dreams and Kenneth Koch's work. ...more
rated it really liked it
Apr 25, 2016
Justin Helmley
rated it it was amazing
Mar 01, 2013
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