cover image Heaven and Earth: A Cosmology

Heaven and Earth: A Cosmology

Albert Goldbarth. University of Georgia Press, $18.95 (136pp) ISBN 978-0-8203-1300-9

Goldbarth's ( Popular Culture ) ``cosmology'' involves a scientific reading of life, one that puts into perspective the chemical and physical (as in physics) aspects of love, spirituality and aestheticism, seeking the ``reassurance / of weight and number, perimeter, durability.'' In ``Coin,'' the poet argues for the existence--and ultimate isolation--of the soul by noting the inability of medical science to probe the mystery of the body: ``In everybody, there's this final landscape / only capable of supporting a population of one.'' Although Goldbarth admits in ``The History of Buttons,'' that each person is ``just another grain of dust / freefloating cosmic thermals,'' our molecules combine in such a way that we still are able to ``love what it means to be here / at the end of uncountable miles of lacelike nerve.'' The reader must work hard to interpret the poet's complicated but extraordinary vision. To make his points, Goldbarth links stories from his own experience with interpretive allusions to art and religion, and his imagery often is loaded with esoteric scientific terms. Ultimately, however, the poet's perceptions of life ring so real and true that the reader is more than likely to forgive any verbal and narrative convolution. (Apr.)