Tag: poetry

The Fish in the Stone: Zoë Keating Reads Rita Dove’s Ode to Deep Time

In her arresting poem “Renascence,” Edna St. Vincent Millay elegized “the ticking of Eternity.” But while the notion of eternity has animated artists since the dawn of art, its precise ticking did not come to the forefront of scientific interest until the discovery of the first fossils — those emissaries of eternity, which revealed for […]

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Emily Dickinson’s Electric Love Letters to Susan Gilbert

Four months before her twentieth birthday, Emily Dickinson (December 10, 1830–May 15, 1886) met the person who became her first love and remained her greatest — an orphaned mathematician-in-training by the name of Susan Gilbert, nine days her junior. Throughout the poet’s life, Susan would be her muse, her mentor, her primary reader and editor, […]

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Patti Smith Sings “The Tyger” and Reflects on William Blake’s Transcendent Legacy as a Guiding Sun in the Cosmos of Creativity

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way… As a man is, so he sees,” William Blake (November 28, 1757–August 12, 1827) wrote in his most beautiful letter — a soaring defense of the imagination. A genius both tragic […]

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The Puzzle We Call Being: Walt Whitman on Listening to the Song of Existence, Animated

“Every atom in creation may be said to be acquainted with and married to every other,” the great naturalist John Muir wrote as he contemplated the interconnectedness of the universe not long after Walt Whitman issued his timeless, exquisite reminder that “every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” And yet, Muir recognized, […]

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Wordsworth on Genius and the Creative Responsibility of Elevating Taste

What is genius — what is its nature and its proof? For Beethoven, genius was based on a foundation of talent, but required additional “freshness and wildness of imagination, a raging ambition, an unusual gift for learning and growing, a depth and breadth of thought and spirit.” “Genius gives birth, talent delivers,” Kerouac proclaimed in […]

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Elizabeth Gilbert Reads “The Early Hours” by Adam Zagajewski

“The most regretful people on earth,” Mary Oliver wrote in her beautiful reflection on the central commitment of the creative life, “are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.” There is something lovely about this notion of […]

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Best of Kickstarter: “Haunted Bodies” by Artist Christina Mrozik

A lovely collection of drawings and writings by artist Christina Mrozik (previously featured here). Created while moving through a year of depression, Mrozik tackles the essentials of what it is to be human and to hurt. Her faceless drawings merge pieces of organ with natural elements in an effort to express feelings of inaccessibility and […]

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We Grow Accustomed to the Dark: Emily Dickinson’s Stunning Ode to Resilience, Animated

A timeless serenade to finding light amid the “Evenings of the Brain.” By Maria Popova How do we survive the unsurvivable? What is that inextinguishable flame that goes on flickering in the bleak, dark chamber of our being when something of vital importance has been lost? “All your sorrows have been wasted on you if […]

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The Universe in Verse: Astrophysicist Natalie Batalha Reads Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Renascence” and Tells a Lyrical Personal Story About Her Path to Science

Among the thousands of people around the world watching the livestream of the inaugural Universe in Verse was one spectator who would become a centerpiece of the show the following year: Natalie Batalha — an astrophysicist involved in the search for life on planets orbiting stars outside our Solar System and the project scientist on […]

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