Introduction to Poetry in Issue 24
by John C. Mannone
The line-up for the Fall issue is stunning; it is an eclectic mixture of poets. Some are scientists (or related), while others are literary professionals—they bring you a diverse collection of literary-speculative poetry. And as a chemist and physicist, I feel very much at home with these fine poets: Roald Hoffmann (Theoretical Chemist), Simon Perchik (Attorney), Michelle Butler (English Professor), Bruce Boston (Computer Scientist), Kate Gillespie (Microbiologist), David Kopaska-Merkel (Geologist), John Reinhart (High School English Teacher).
Our Featured Poet, Roald Hoffmann (Ithaca, NY), is a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (1981), who is also impassioned with the arts. His poems (“A Different Kind of Motion,” “Volition,” and “Crossing the Mekong”) bring a chemistry of their own. He speaks of their genesis in the interview.
Simon Perchik (East Hampton, NY) continues to dazzle us with magical illusions and other realities with his poetry (“This spoon all night on tiptoe”). Michelle Butler (College Park, MD), who teaches Medieval Literature, shares a ghostly poem (“The Near Shore”). The multiple-winning Bram Stoker poet, Bruce Boston (Ocala, FL) crafts a poem with luxurious language (“Septuagenarian Flashback”). Another poet from where I grew up, Kate Gillespie (Baltimore, MD), skillfully incorporates metaphors from her studies as a microbiologist in marine biotechnology (“Harboring”*). Our scientific professions often provide fresh metaphors. In David Kopaska-Merkel’s (Tuscaloosa, AL) poetry (“Hard Row”), the geological influence is very clear. Finally, John Reinhart (Wheat Ridge, CO) leaves us with a short, surreal poem (“dream”) that is fanciful and pensive—a good final note.
* I am reminded of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, which now serves as a model for developers across the country, but I remember before it was cleaned-up, when it was a place for refuse, and too many times, a setting for crime. Now, it’s a tourist stop.