Corpus Socius cover photo
Author photo for Lance Phillips
  • Series: New Series 1
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-916272-71-5
  • ISBN-10: 0-916272-71-0
  • Pages: 118
  • Size: 0.40 x 6.0 x 8.0 in
  • Price: $14.95

Corpus Socius

Lance Phillips

The corpus in question is multiple: the physical human body in both its private and social natures, as well as in its biology and its submission to laws natural, ethical, and religious; and the corpus of written works that make up the literature of lyric poetry. Phillips forges a new understanding of the physical self through language, through sparse utterances and compressed or broken syntax: “The acts / I’ve immediate acts/ Cloud full with hand then mouth’s/ a lightning of mercury/ of hair’s memorable lust.” A radical re-examination of the central concerns of lyric poetry as well as an exploratory investigation of linguistics and syntactical inconsistency, the poems of Corpus Socius mediate the relationships between written and spoken word, mind and body, natural and synthetic structures of our world.

“Long ago, those adventurous, uncompromisingly ‘broken’ poems of The Tennis Court Oath, as well as the radiant pieces of language (and silence) etched onto the page by poets such as Celan and Beckett, showed us how far down the Via Negativa our aesthetics could go. Lance Phillips has added to that tradition a poetry which is elliptical not because it has been half erased to confound the authorities, but simply because it is humbly alert to the limitations and possibilities of linguistic expression, its voice sensual, leaping quickly, shimmering with the electricity of the ‘bluish wings’ of our physical existence ‘outside from the word.’ It is beautiful work.”—Christopher Davis

A plant near the churchyard


On the one the swollen index
veery’s dustbath outlines y


sure with a
with flagpole, coagula
with content





A third time in my peripheral vision Jesus’s
fine-indigo-grid rushing toward then away




Stillest form the engram’s blue flag






Not suffering but the distinction of all things
bring along the nets
physicality lord garment





recollapses the small girls
up, back to the puddles


at cheek microstructure


dee de de
At abundance


Copyright © 2002 by Lance Phillips

“In their flamboyant telegraphy, in such wild skins, the poems of Corpus Socius assign a new task to the Human Form Divine. Lance Phillips is a poet who means to act, and his meaning takes the measure of us all.” —Donald Revell

“Phillips...begins by complicating the notion of the body, from body politic to the sexual body to the body of the ant colony and the flock of sparrows.... In keeping with the treasured ambiguity of postmodern poetics, his definitions are not finite and exclusive; rather, they attempt a broadening of understanding heightened by word play, a thoughtful caesura, and placement on the page. For Phillips, the drama exists in the white space as well as the print. He emphasizes suggestion and possibility.... Ultimately, this collection makes fluid the fragmented parts of the postmodern body, acknowledging at once its place as individual entity and part of the larger whole and the way in which each construction constantly intrudes on the other. It offers, in its own way, a body of poetry that is political for the genre and integral to its growth.” —Camille-Yvette Welsch, ForeWord Magazine

Lance Phillips was born in Germany in 1970. A graduate of the University of North Carolina and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife and two children.