Logo IMG


Science and Poetry

Anna Lena Phillips

Poetry and science go way back: Over the centuries, they have occasionally gotten together, like old friends who find themselves in the same city and meet up for tea, only to head home the next day and lose touch again. Much has changed since the two disciplines’ earlier encounters—which resulted, for instance, in late-1700s scientific treatises written in poetic form. Poets who investigate scientific concepts, and scientists tempted by verse, are now crafting work that invites readers into scientific cultures and bodies of knowledge even as it raises questions about the research enterprise. The six books reviewed in this issue—five poetry collections and one book of essays—are a sample of recent work in poetry that engages with scientific and mathematical constructs. At the end of the section, we present new poems from four poets whose work is informed by science.

Poetry in the Wild: Emily Grosholz reviews Approaching Ice, by Elizabeth Bradfield, and Darwin: A Life in Poems, by Ruth Padel.

Quantum Metaphors: Robin Chapman reviews Intersecting Sets: A Poet Looks at Science, by Alice Major.

Querying Science: Rick Mullin reviews Hypotheticals, by Leigh Kotsilidis.

Songs of Scientists: Sarah Glaz reviews The Scientific Method, by Mary Alexandra Agner.

A Useful Pageant: Anna Lena Phillips reviews Between Page and Screen, by Amaranth Borsuk and Brad Bouse.


Projection, by Anna M. Evans

Mosquitoes, by Alison Hawthorne Deming

Baffle Gate, by Matthew Tierney

Holy Heathen Rhapsody, by Pattiann Rogers

comments powered by Disqus

Connect With Us:

Facebook Icon Sm Twitter Icon Google+ Icon Pinterest Icon RSS Feed Instagram Icon

Sigma Xi/Amazon Smile (SciNight)

Subscribe to Free eNewsletters!

RSS Feed Subscription

Receive notification when new content is posted from the entire website, or choose from the customized feeds available.

Read Past Issues on JSTOR

JSTOR, the online academic archive, contains complete back issues of American Scientist from 1913 (known then as the Sigma Xi Quarterly) through 2005.

The table of contents for each issue is freely available to all users; those with institutional access can read each complete issue.

View the full collection here.


Of Possible Interest

Book Review: An Ethical Evolution

Book Review: Names, Simplified

Book Review: Fearless Symmetry

Subscribe to American Scientist