While I haven’t been posting here (or at Poetic Idealism) lately, that’s not to say things haven’t been very busy.
One thing I’m very proud of is the state of the new issue of Barely South Review, which has taken up most of my time these past two weeks. It’s turned out beautifully, with no small thanks to the contributors who sent us wonderful materials to work with, and the staff who put in many long hours.
On the other hand, this workload also means my thesis has taken somewhat of a back seat recently. I’ve written a couple of new things, but still feel about fifteen poems short. These are in me somewhere, and now I have time to go mining for them.
Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us.
– Interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson, “Beyond the Big Bang”, The Universe, The History Channel, 2007
I’ve been reading a lot of great books lately… Some, I’ve read through and am going back to spend more time with, and some are new for me. As I work through them, I’m posting a lot of quotes up here on the blog, and not really offering a whole lot of analysis to go along. I’m trying to get volume taken care of, I suppose.
I guess I haven’t yet described the particular direction of my thesis collection. I’m not entirely sure yet, in fact.
But I do have an inkling. I suppose one is never sure anyways about these things.
The inkling is this: Poetry and Science complement each other. There is a divide in U.S. society about the society’s cosmology, as Pattiann Rogers describes the term. The vastness of the universe – the incomprehensibility of it – begs for poetry. Poetry is how we humans explain to ourselves things we do not fully comprehend. Old myths have fallen by the wayside throughout human history. Progress always supersedes old myths, but only once society has made that choice. Old myths and world views – old cosmologies – fight hard to maintain their power, even to the point of violence. New cosmologies open doors to progress. New cosmologies beg poetry to further their cause. Poetry opens doors to new cosmologies. This is accomplished through wonder, beauty, and honesty. Poetry butts heads. Poetry breaks doors. Poetry does not know everything. Science does not know everything. Neither can describe things they don’t yet know about. Both are necessary for human progress and survival – to maintain a humanity in the face of the vast necessity of everything, in the face of the void, in the face of unknowing.
My summer reading pile is about 18″ high, primarily poetry collections, so that’s about 25 books or so, I’d guess. I haven’t actually counted. And I know there are more that somehow wound up actually on my bookshelf. And I definitely know there are more sitting on my Amazon wishlist (don’t get mad, they make it easy).
– Sidenote here: One benefit, I’ve just realized, of physical books over, say, the Kindle or something, is that you get the sense of accomplishment by shrinking the aforementioned pile as books are read. Awesome sauce – Continue reading →