In a twist on its monthly Science Cafe series, in January 2013 the NC Museum of Natural Sciences created an event they call Poetry Scope. (If you want to know how this came to be—perhaps so you can talk your favorite science museum into doing the same—my fellow poet, poetry promoter, and far better blogger Pamela Taylor tells it here.)
Basically, they select poems that examine, fold in, or touch on some flavor of science, invite the poets to read, and let the audience ask questions.
I’m honored to be part of the second such event on August 8, when I’ll be reading “hometown”…and more than a little intimidated by the Q&A I expect to face. At the first Poetry Scope, about 75 people came and these people know their science. Way. Better. Than. I.
See, it’s the vocabulary of science that I enjoy. My understanding goes about as far as the sonic quality and definition of terms like free radical, spaghettification, and Fibonacci sequence. And pretty much stops there.
Yes, I took Biology, Chemistry, Astronomy, and Physics in high school and/or college. Passed all the tests. Got As every time. And promptly forgot everything but the terminology. Now, when I run across a juicy term in science (or mechanical engineering or any other technical discipline), all I see are metaphors for other things: human relationships, growing up, the concept of home.
So pardon me while I bone up on antimatter, tesseract, and non-Euclidian geometry. And wish me luck.
Or better yet, come out to listen, lend your moral support or, if you’re so inclined, bring your toughest questions!