April 12, 2016

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Poetry Friday: Planet Poetry

Hello, Writerly Friends. I'm going all scientific this week.

Last Saturday, Resident Teen #1 spent the day at a robotics competition. 

Hey, all you robots. Roll your wheels
over to Jama's Alphabet Soup for
the Poetry Friday roundup.

I stayed to watch the robot action while my husband took Resident Teen #2 to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. They were performing selections from Holst's "The Planets." It was a geeky kind of day.

Here is "Pluto" from Holst's "The Planets."

This week, the staff of Little Patuxent Review and I have been reading submissions for the journal's upcoming Science issue. As we went over final choices during lunch yesterday, guest editor Lalita Noronha and I couldn't contain our glee. (Read Lalita's poem "The Sea.")

The short stories, essays and poems we received for the issue are an amazing integration of science and literature -- more often than not using science as a way to understand human experience.

Today, I'm sharing two poems from Poetry 180, a project Billy Collins began when he was U.S. Poet Laureate. Both of today's poems use science to explore the way children think, and how that differs from adult logic and adult limitations.

Forgotten Planet

Doug Dorph

I ask my daughter to name the planets.
"Venus ...Mars ...and Plunis!" she says.
When I was six or seven my father
woke me in the middle of the night.
We went down to the playground and lay
on our backs on the concrete looking up
for the meteors the tv said would shower.

I don't remember any meteors. I remember
my back pressed to the planet Earth,
my father's bulk like gravity next to me,
the occasional rumble from his throat,
the apartment buildings dark-windowed,
the sky close enough to poke with my finger.

Now, knowledge erodes wonder.

Read the rest at Poetry 180. 

As you know, poor Pluto has been downgraded from 9th planet to dwarf planet -- a change that happened while  my youngest was in elementary school. How quickly our understanding of the universe can shift!

Hubble images of Pluto
Cartoon Physics, part 1

Nick Flynn

Children under, say, ten, shouldn't know
that the universe is ever-expanding,
inexorably pushing into the vacuum, galaxies

swallowed by galaxies, whole

solar systems collapsing, all of it
acted out in silence. At ten we are still learning

the rules of cartoon animation,

that if a man draws a door on a rock
only he can pass through it.
Anyone else who tries

will crash into the rock. Ten-year-olds
should stick with burning houses, car wrecks,
ships going down -- earthbound, tangible

disasters, arenas

where they can be heroes.

Read the rest of the poem at Poetry 180.

Studying Calvin & Hobbes in Statistical Mechanics!

Enjoy your Poetry Friday, everyone! Here's a little science and poetry set to music to send you off into your day...


skanny17 said...

Doug Florian has some great science poetry books. Have you seen them? Kids love them.
Janet F.
Great post!!!

Author Amok said...

Hi, Janet. I'm familiar with Doug Florian's animal poetry books, but not specifically science. I'll have to check them out. Science poems for children tend to focus on nature. I'd love to find more physics, astronomy, biology, etc.

Linda B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda B said...

I love that site, Laura, and my "old" students did too. So many of the poems are great to help reach young teens. Don't you love anyone who speaks of hole in the rock that can be drawn so one can walk through! I know a book you may like by Seymour Simon, usually science writer for young kids. It's title is Star Walk-beautiful poems and photos. Thanks for the poems!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Love this post, Laura, and the whole notion of science and poetry in tandem. Especially loved the Nick Flynn poem, that last bit is brilliant. And Thomas Dolby...ah, those were the days.

jama said...

Wow, what a fun post -- a geeky scientific feast! Enjoyed the poems and videos -- but I still feel sorry for Pluto. . .

Robyn Hood Black said...

I, too, think poor Pluto got a bit of a bad rap. ;0)
What a great post - and so many emotions in and through it. Thank you for sharing several fine poems and a peek into your ever-intriguing life which fuels all of this wonder! I mean, robots and the symphony in the same week? Wonderful.

madelyn rosenerg said...

These are gorgeous. New mission to go grab some books of science poetry. Thanks for the introduction and thanks for recs in comments as well!

Jeannine Atkins said...

I also adore your geeky day. And those poems. Particularly Doug Dorph's my father like gravity beside me. Wonderful. I really look forward to the special issue of Little Patuxent Review!

Tricia said...

I love this post - so much science and poetry goodness!
The Florian book you want to check out is called COMETS, STARS, THE MOON, AND MARS: SPACE POEMS AND PAINTINGS. It has a wonderful poem about Pluto, as well as other space objects.
However, one of my favorites is SPACE SONGS by Myra Cohn Livingston.
Thanks for sharing all this great stuff today.

Author Amok said...

Thanks, everyone. I appreciate the recommendations for further reading. How great that there are poetry/science resources out there. I also like Science Verse. Even though it's silly, there is some introductory science in the book. said...

It's great for kids to learn through poetry. These are super!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

You know I LOVE that Nick Flynn poem, for so many many reasons (I thought it ended perfectly at "heroes")--and bookended by two awesome slices of music.

Science Friday!

Diane Mayr said...

Are you familiar with Verse & Universe: Poems about Science and Mathematics, edited by Kurt? It's 300 pages or so of poems about science for adults. I think you might like it. Maybe I'll feature it next Friday at Kurious Kitty.

Diane Mayr said...

That should have been "edited by Kurt Brown."

laurasalas said...

Fun post! I love Nick Flynn's poem--puts me in mind of the story in the news today about the boy who was Batkid in San Fran yesterday, as part of Make A Wish. And it also made me think of my own Pluto acrostic from my space poems book:

Then There Were Eight

Poor ball of ice, we know you exist; but you’re
Little and solid and we must insist on
Undoing the past, so though you’ll be missed, we’ve
Taken you
Off of the “real planet” list

Ruth said...

Fun post! Thank you!

GatheringBooks said...

Hi Laura, I loved cartoon physics most of all. I am constantly fascinated and riveted by this beautiful marriage between science and verse. There should be more of this, I believe. Such marvels in space, such magic in our world. :)

Doraine said...

I love "Plunis"! Thanks for sharing your geeky day. Sounds like something for everyone, or for the geek in all of us.