Science and Poetry

Being a scientist, writing poetry inevitably intersects with scientific knowledge and language. This can make it more difficult to understand in an everyday context.

The notion of difficult poetry as “thought provoking poems that would make the readers think and go deeper into the poem to understand it better and appreciate it” has an appeal in this context. Challenges hard won are the most satisfying achievements.

A depth of scientific allusion in a poem can make it seem ‘intellectual’. It may make it less accessible but poetry needs to have minority appeal as much as popular. Stevens “Auroras of Autumn” is a poem that could be written for an astrophysicist by training with an interest in literature and Christian belief. So for me,  “Auroras of Autumn” is a good match, as is Rich’s “Planetarium”, but not everybody will enjoy the depth to these works. It is a question of background and preference.

English is a beautiful language in all its glorious ambiguity and complexity of meaning. But English is a composite language with many roots, national variations and cultural applications. For me, colour and flavour (as in quarks), entanglement (as in quantum), even realisation (as in making real) have different meanings to most readers and poets. Its not that science is more “intellectual”, but that it represents a different culture.  It may be argued that some poetry is like reading a foreign language, but how beautiful it can be if you share that language.

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This entry was posted in Dining in the Cosmic Cafe, Disregarding 12 O 2, Evolution of the Universe, Manhattan Repentance, Marilyn and the Physics of David Deutsch, The digital enhancement of photographs of Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, The Growing Weariness of Light. Bookmark the permalink.

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