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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Magdalena Ball's Poety Sees Science Everywhere

Unmaking Atoms
By Magdalena Ball
Genre: Poetry/ Science
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Ginninderra Press (January 11, 2017)
Language: English
190 Pages
ISBN-10: 1760412821
ISBN-13: 978-1760412821
Author's Web site: www.magdalenaball.com
Buy the book  on Amazon

A Moment in Time

I always learn something new from Magdalena Ball’s poetry and was excited that she has a new book that might satisfy my hunger for more of her science-related poems. And so I was surprised to see an entire section titled “Hieroglyphics” in Unmaking Atoms. That discovery doubled my excitement because years ago I studied Egyptian hieroglyphics for three long, confusing, and exciting semesters. It was a process that entangled me in anything with even the mildest scent of Egypt about it and I have visited that country several times since. But I was confused. Where was the “science” in anything I had ever learned about that country, its history, culture, people, language?

I’m telling you this story because Ball’s poetry is nothing if not eclectic and wholly unexpected. I should have known she could make the connection. In this section inspired by the Online at MoMA exhibition at
http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2010/online/#works, she says,

“the story you’ve left in me

a ridge against the inside

scar tissue

“like art, I could make myself in positive integers

on carbon, memory cutting figures across a black expanse

as I move through these places, at grand scale

“finding a tincture of who you were

each detail of your absence, bringing back

the line and curve that makes us whole.”

And so . . . now I have a deeper sense of many of those things I thought I had come to know. And science?  Ball finds science everywhere and—of course—it is everywhere

And this, dear readers, is the beauty and the excitement of picking up a book of Ball’s poetry and slowly, deliberately, letting that science permeate you awareness of whatever she chooses to examine.

You won’t be bored. You will have your senses awakened. And those who know and love ekphrastic poetry are going to fall in love and want more of the modern art exhibit that inspired it.

Isn’t all poetry but a moment in a time? And isn’t science inundated with unseen time. Ball may help you see time—and feel it.


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