Socrates’ bestial laugh washes into the cosmic map where Blake digs with his spade and Sam stands bathed in the sparks of his youth Among colored shapes, Sam embraces the warmest softest things a woman’s spirit in the shape of clouds in the shape of foam in the shape of a womb The white space of the canvas shines

Though abstract expressionist Sam Francis died in the early ’90s, his work lives in several ways — the excerpt above, “Dreaming Sam Francis,” composed by poet Makoto Ooka and translated by Janine Beichman, is one exemplary example. Not only is an exhibition of Francis’ work currently taking place in Tokyo, but his art graces the covers of the first two volumes of Kyoto-based Cid Corman’s “of,” and is also featured in the recently published third volume. Francis published the first two volumes through his own Lapis Press. These total over 1,500 pages, many of which contain just a few short stanzas, not unlike Francis’ utilization of open white spaces on his canvas.

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