Ten sciencey poems for National Poetry Month
This month is National Poetry Month and over at the Finch & Pea we’re reading William Carlos Williams. This week, it’s Williams’ poem "Labrador", which places our categorizing, scientific minds against a seamless and indifferent nature.
In honor of National Poetry Month, here’s a recap of ten of my favorite science-themed poems that we’ve covered at the Finch & Pea. Some of these poems may not typically be thought of as having anything to do with science, but nonetheless, the science is there.
Czesław Miłosz’s “This World” makes us ask, Why is time irreversible? Why is aging irreversible?
Robert Frost’s “A loose mountain”: Does the universe have it in for us?
Seamus Heaney’s “Death of a Naturalist”: The poet’s budding scientific career ends with a childhood encounter with the obscene realities of being an organism.
Walt Whitman’s “Passage to India” is about our human appetite for exploration and our inner passage to India.
Emily Dickinson’s #822 describes experience and consciousness in terms of a scientific experiment.
Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach” is a classic poem of Darwinism and Victorian doubt.
Sally Van Doren’s “Adaptive” turns the reading of a poem into an act of adaptive evolution.
Arthur Rimbaud’s “Movement” and the need for abstraction in science and poetry.
John Keats’ “On first looking into Chapman’s Homer” is a launching point for a discussion of the sublime in science, Big Dumb Objects, and the science fiction of Arthur C. Clarke.
Heid Erdrich’s “Seven Mothers” explores the concept of mitochondrial motherhood.
All of the Finch & Pea’s Sunday Science Poems are here.
My online presence: not anonymous
I live online under my own name. Some people are speculating that I am the anonymous poster who touted our lab’s papers in this reddit thread on Lior Pachter’s critique of the work of Manolis Kellis’ lab. That’s not me.
To set the record straight, I do not write or comment anonymously online. If you want to find me and my opinions, come visit the group blog the Finch and Pea, my tumblr home page Gene Logic, @genologos on Twitter, and my Pacific Standard column. On rare occasions I will post comments on other people’s blogs, using my real identity via Google+ or WordPress.
If someone is criticizing you anonymously, it’s not me.