FIRST HAND

Linda Bierds, Author . Penguin $25 (96p) ISBN 978-0-399-15261-0

Bierds won national recognition and a 1998 MacArthur "genius" grant for elaborate yet accessible poems about technology and natural history; her compact seventh collection offers yet more supple work in that vein. A prose prologue and a set of short-lined poems named for liturgical hours ("Matins," "Vespers," etc.) introduce Gregor Mendel, the Moravian monk whose studies of peas laid the groundwork for modern genetics, and who surfaces throughout. Between moving depictions of Mendel's "grace and patience" come poems devoted to other sciences and other scientists: "the young Isaac Newton," the kite-flying Ben Franklin, Marie Curie, James Clerk Maxwell and the Scottish biologist who cloned Dolly the lamb. Many of these investigators, Bierds (The Seconds ) suggests, seek not only the hidden link between mind and matter, or the secret of their identity: Franklin, for one, hopes "to be, at once,/ all body, all soul. That is the key." An eight-sonnet sequence closes the book by juxtaposing the monk's botanical practice with the poet's own experience of microscopy at the University of Washington–Seattle (where she teaches): all the poems find language for deep wonder at the mathematical and geometric patterns that undergird the visible world. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/07/2005
Release date: 04/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 96 pages - 978-1-4406-0456-0
Open Ebook - 96 pages - 978-1-4406-0371-6
Open Ebook - 96 pages - 978-1-4406-2757-6
Show other formats
FORMATS
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X