Science and Other Poems

Alison Hawthorne Deming, Author
Alison Hawthorne Deming, Author Louisiana State University Press $17.95 (80p) ISBN 978-0-8071-1914-3
Paperback - 80 pages - 978-0-8071-1915-0
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Winner of the 1993 Walt Whitman Award, this first book by Deming is set in nature as understood by an educated mind. Among its strengths is the poet's reasoned assessment of disjunctions and connections between the human and the natural. In ``Ano Nuevo,'' for example, beachniks gape at an elephant seal washed up on shore: ``They want the animal / to acknowledge them, to care / as much about the human presence / as they care about his.'' Deming's coolly observant, adventurous witness deepens the way we think, see, and care. Her scruples can momentarily convince us that ``it's not enough to imagine'' a natural past or present, and yet then in another poem concede, ``That's art--forgetting / what's real.'' The stability of her lines and sentences bears complication of this kind, scrutiny along with wonder; she can venture the question ``What is it to see?'' and give a richly extensive, cadenced answer. Her poetry is inclusive, at ease with the facts of science as with its semblance, whether this means speculating about ``a cloudy nursery'' of stars, or following the ``lens-tipped wand'' that ``threads the ventricle.'' (May)
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