POETRY & SCIENCE

WRITING OUR WAY TO DISCOVERY

Thoughtful, resonant works that foster a deeper understanding of poetry and science.

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These collected essays and poems by five women investigate the connections between poetic and scientific modes of exploration.

With her many poetry collections and other books as well as degrees in English, biology, and zoology, Day is especially well placed to edit this anthology of female poets whose work engages with science, particularly natural history and ecology. Besides herself, the contributors are Elizabeth Bradfield, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Ann Fisher-Wirth, and Allison Adelle Hedge Coke; each entry includes an essay as well as related poems by the writer or others. The poets reflect on such matters as how they came to develop their twin interests. Hedge Coke, for example, grew up with “a familial knowing of science being a part of everything,” while Fisher-Wirth began by taking up gardening as a young mother and now collaborates on interdisciplinary programs in environmental studies. The writers often turn to scientific knowledge for metaphors that can explore human experience. In “The Monarchs: A Poem Sequence,” for example, Deming draws a link between the instinctual migration of butterflies, whose “navigation takes science,” and human intuition, the “art to know / to move when the idea strikes.” While science can serve poetry, the reverse is also true. Art can communicate ideas or—as Bradfield muses—“can help keep science honest.” Because the anthology offers both poems and personal statements, each kind of writing can help open up the other and allow readers to more easily trace influences and connections, making it a potentially valuable resource for students, scholars, or interested readers. As might be expected, the contributors speak with eloquence, precision, and insight, conveying their delight, wonder, and sometimes despair—several poems address environmental disasters. The poems’ strong voices and rich imagery reward attentive reading.

Thoughtful, resonant works that foster a deeper understanding of poetry and science.

Pub Date: Nov. 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-1734531336

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Scarlet Tanager Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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  • IndieBound Bestseller

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

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The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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  • New York Times Bestseller

ELON MUSK

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

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A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.

To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781982181284

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

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