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When Poetry And Science Collide

Reel to Reel book cover shows a galaxy
press.uchicago.edu
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Poet Alan Shapiro says good science writing, like good poetry, asks questions and evokes a sense of wonder. His new book, "Reel to Reel" (University of Chicago Press/2014), takes inspiration from biology, astronomy and physics.

The poems move between the intimately familiar and the vastly unknowable, considering both the frustrations of political hypocrisy and the mysteries of human consciousness. 

Homeric Turns, Part 2 The gods laugh, that’s what they’re good at, laughing.They laugh at the crippled god, his shriveled legs, His hobbling, and his mother, in a little Shadow play of suffering at the sight of him, Her crippled baby, laughs the loudest, and then Laughs even louder when she hurls him out Of heaven, and he falls, and while he falls The laughter echoing around him is The measure of the pure unbreathable cold Height of the heaven he’s falling from and through, Hilarity of light and air, delight’s Effacement of everything but itself. And the crippled baby tumbling to earth In a charade of terror? Don’t let him Deceive you—he’s a god—he’s laughing too.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Shapiro, professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.