Poetry In Motion: Belated Bris of the Brainsick

Vancouver-based poet Lucas Crawford shares recorded samplings from his third collection Belated Bris of the Brainsick(Nightwood Editions) which explores revelations around Jewish culture within the family, mental health issues and the pursuit of a “queered” version of health.


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Lucas Crawford’s favourite family photo shows his mother, beloved late aunt Bernie, and cousin Kevin sitting in the back row of a poetry reading that took place at Venus Envy, Halifax’s queer/women’s bookstore and sex-positive shop. The backdrop? An entire wall of “flesh-lights.” Such seeming incongruities – catholic family listening to queer jewish-ish poetry; writing about painful experience in tongue-twisting rhyming puns; funny but serious; loud but nuanced – could be said to define Lucas’s Crawford’s poetry. His first book, Sideshow Concessions (Invisible Publishing, 2015) won the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. His second, High Line Scavenger Hunt (U of Calgary Press 2018) traces alternative trans- and queer-focused histories of the High Line, a much-lauded public park in Manhattan. In August 2019, High Line Scavenger Hunt was one of three texts used to create an audio guide for the park, a project that reflects Crawford’s commitment to poetry as a public affair. In October 2019, Nightwood Editions launched his third book, Belated Bris of the Brainsick (Nightwood Editions), which tells the story of secret family Jewishness, of the hind-sighted weight of such secrecy, and of the mental health aftermaths of its discovery. Lucas was born in Halifax, raised in rural Nova Scotia, currently lives in Fredericton, and is Associate Professor of English at UNB, where his work focuses on transgender, queer studies, discourses of health, popular culture, and 20th century literature and architecture. His academic book is Transgender Architectonics: The Shape of Change in Modernist Space (Routledge 2016). Lucas reads My Life in Taxicabs from Belated Bris of the Brainsick Lucas reads Intruder Mouse from Belated Bris of the Brainsick Lucas reads LInes from a Night at the Bathhouse from Belated Bris of the Brainsick# #  #Thank you to Lucas for sharing his poetry with us! You can read more of Lucas’ poems in Belated Bris of the Brainsick, available now on All Lit Up. Browse more Poetry in Motion >>