Radial Symmetry

Larson, Katherine

(Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Radial Symmetry
Katherine Larson is the winner of the 2010 Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition. With Radial Symmetry , she has created a transcendent body of poems that flourish in the liminal spaces that separate scientific inquiry from empathic knowledge, astute observation from sublime witness. Larson's inventive lyrics lead the reader through vertiginous landscapes--geographical, phenomenological, psychological--while always remaining attendant to the speaker's own fragile, creaturely self. An experienced research scientist and field ecologist, Larson dazzles with these sensuous and sophisticated poems, grappling with the powers of poetic imagination as well as the frightful realization of the human capacity for ecological destruction. The result is a profoundly moving collection: eloquent in its lament and celebration. Metamorphosis [excerpt] We dredge the stream with soup strainers and separate dragonfly and damselfly nymphs- their eyes like inky bulbs, jaws snapping at the light as if the world was full of tiny traps, each hairpin mechanism tripped for transformation. Such a ricochet of appetites insisting life, life, life against the watery dark, the tuberous reeds.

Series that include this title

Publisher: New Haven [Conn.] : Yale University Press, c2011
ISBN: 0300169205
Branch Call Number: 811.6 L3347r 2011
Characteristics: xxi, 64 p. ;,21 cm


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May 25, 2011
  • EasterIsland rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Katherine Larson's Radial Symmetry is an eloquent receptor for travels to detail sea life, art, history, islands and the poetic in biology.

In the poem "Low Tide Evening," a woman on a bus in Ireland thinks "I travel half the world and still/ I feel chased."

In the poem "Preparing for Sleep," the simile to a man trying to fall asleep is "thirst hauls itself from the ground...."

The part that captivates about Radial Symmetry is the language of life matter and creatures and how their natural rhythms touch the human.


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