Center for Values in Medicine, Science and Technology Lecture Series - Rae Armantrout: Chimera: Where Poetry and Physics Meet

Wednesday, February 28, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Venue: JO 2.604
Admission: Free
Season: 2017-18

About the Lecture:

This presentation argues that compartmentalization is the enemy of creativity. It is specifically concerned with some surprising overlaps between poetry and theoretical physics – what they have in common and how they can, and have, spoken to one another. Armantrout will discuss a class (Poetry for Physicists) which she co-taught with cosmologist Brian Keating at UC San Diego as well as the influence readings in physics have had on her own poetry. The talk will include a discussion of poems by Emily Dickinson, William Blake, Wallace Stevens, and Rae Armantrout.

About the Author:

Rae Armantrout’s most recent books; Versed, Money Shot, Just Saying, Itself, Partly: New and Selected Poems, and Entanglements (a chapbook selection of poems in conversation with physics), were published by Wesleyan University Press. In 2010 her book Versed won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and The National Book Critics Circle Award. Armantrout was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007. Reviewing Partly in The London Review of Books, Stephen Burt describes Armantrout’s poems like this: “Replete with double and triple meanings, they describe chess moves and human institutions, computer code and dating rituals… Such multiple meanings, which occupy the foreground of her poems, lurk behind all human interactions, casting doubt on everything we intend.”

Her poems have appeared in many anthologies and journals including Poetry, Lana Turner, The Nation, The New Yorker, Bomb, The Paris Review, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology, The New Anthology of American Poetry (Rutgers), The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of Poetry Magazine (Scribners), and several editions of the yearly anthology, The Best American Poetry (Scribners). Her books have been translated in Spanish, French, Italian, and German editions.  She is recently retired from UC San Diego where she was professor of poetry and poetics. While at UCSD she co-taught a course called Poetry for Physicists with physicist Brian Keating. She currently lives in the Seattle area.

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