When I was in high school, I was a regional runner-up in the Ottaker's/Faber Poetry Prize for my age group. I have absolutely no memory of what the first prize was, but as a runner up I was given a stack of poetry books, and I was in heaven. I went home with a copy of The Faber Book of Landscape Poetry, Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf, Not to Speak of the Dog: 101 Short Stories in Verse, and A Quark for Mister Mark: 101 Poems About Science.
As a teenager who loved science, I gravitated first towards A Quark for Mister Mark and the blurb on the cover:
"...this anthology counters the notion that science and poetry are magnetically opposed. The model of the two cultures has collapsed. Just as poets write about science and about recent scientific ideas, so too science has reached out to the language of poetry for its own intimations on the wilder shore of the here and the elsewhere."
The poems I encountered encouraged me to keep writing after I left school and embarked on a degree in Biological Sciences, then a career working in universities.
With all of that in mind, I'm extraordinarily delighted that my poem "De Motu Cordis" has been included in Spectral Lines, an anthology of poems about scientists. It's striking that the blurb for this book touches on similar ideas to A Quark... and I'm glad that I've been able to continue to write at the intersection between the two worlds.
"At the intersection of science and poetry, strange things happen. There exists such a bizarre human experience and shared understanding, that we can’t help but admire and celebrate it. It’s transcendent—the crossover of discovery and beauty. The physical solid realism and the ethereal intangible ideas. The inexplicable, the long-desired solutions, the struggle that comes in between."
Spectral Lines is available now from Alternating Current Press.
I just finished a huge project at work, and decided to distill it down to a word cloud using wordclouds.com. It's interesting to see the frequency of different words used - clearly I'm expecting that people WILL pay attention to what I've written!