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Synopses & Reviews
This ambitious collection explores the intersection of the infinite world of physics with the perplexities of the human condition. Employing both narrative and cinematic structure, Jordan re-creates the lives of Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, and comic book superheroes'"the Green Lantern, the Atom'"and also reveals himself in poems of recollection and loss.
"'The principles of physics, the lives of physicists (especially Albert Einstein) and the dilemmas of classic comic book heroes provide Van Jordan (M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A) with the structure and occasions for his often delightful, always clear and occasionally profound third volume. The second and longest of its three sections follows Einstein's biography from early adulthood and first marriage (to the mathematician Mileva Maric, the mother of his children) through infidelities, emigration, fame, travels in America and Einstein's latter-day campaigns against nuclear weapons and racial injustice. Terms from physics make easy (at times, too easy) metaphors for more human concerns: 'promise me/ you'll never cease being/ the elegant equation,' Einstein asks Maric; decades afterwards, Paul Robeson muses, during his meeting with the great thinker, 'My voice/ is as dangerous as any atom splitting/ open.' The best poems here leave famous thinkers and performers behind — the set of short poems about the superhero called the Atom, for example, who maintained a secret identity as a lovelorn physicist and whose powers let him shrink down to nuclear size: 'It was as if no one had seen me// until I mastered the science// of shrinking my body.' (July) ' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
This provocative, ambitious collection explores the intersection of the infinite world of physics with the perplexities of the human condition.
"Fearless hybridization.... Jordan creates spaces where physics and poetry, comic books and jazz, memory and loss, come together."'"American Prospect
Employing both narrative and cinematic structure, A. Van Jordan re-creates the lives of his subjects: Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, comic-book superheroes (The Green Lantern, The Atom), along with aspects of himself revealed in poems of recollection and loss. With lyric intensity he suggests that contemporary physicists are also metaphysical poets.
About the Author
A. Van Jordan is the author of Rise, published by Tia Chucha Press, 2001, which won the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award and selected for the Book of the Month Club from the Academy of American Poets. His second book, M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A, published by W.W. Norton & Co, 2004, was awarded an Anisfield-Wolf Award and listed as one the Best Books of 2005 by The London Times (TLS). Jordan was also awarded a Whiting Writers Award in 2005 and a Pushcart Prize in 2006, 30th Edition. Quantum Lyrics was published July 2007 by W.W. Norton & Co. He is a recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, 2007, and a United States Artists Williams Fellowship, 2008. He is a Professor in the Dept. of English at the University of Michigan.
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