It takes special genius to contemplate the intimate relationship of poetry and astrophysics. Poet Sarah Howe, a Fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute is such a genius and her poem Relativity (below) subtly probes human experience by locating us in the nearly incomprehensible, ever-expanding universe (“a universe that dopplers away like a siren’s midnight cry.”) Howe created the poem in honor of Stephen Hawking of Cambridge University. Her short piece in a recent issue of The Paris Review explains her approach to the subject and illuminates some of the astrophysical concepts underlying the poem. A few minutes spent with Howe’s poetic tour of our physical universe renews our sense of wonder at what’s evident about our world – and reminds us of how much remains unfathomable to even those with a metaphysical bent.
Photo Credit: Public domain image of fractal