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A Language for the Unknown

A Language for the Unknown:
The Interplay of Poetry & Science

A reading and panel discussion that took place at the 2016 Massachusetts Poetry Festival in Salem, MA, USA. Proposed and organized by Ellen Goldstein, with Heather Hughes and Rosemary Starace.

Careful observation, precise language, and a fascination with what poet and science writer Alison Hawthorne Deming calls “the unknown” are some of the commonalities between poetry and science. This panel examines the ways in which the two disciplines inform and inspire each other. How can astronomy, geology, or biology illuminate a relationship or expose human truth in poetry? How does a fact become a metaphor when it crosses the science/poetry border? How do curiosity and imagination play out in both arenas? Using their own poetry as well as examples from other poets and scientists, the presenters discuss how science figures in their search for poetic meaning and “the unknown.”

L to R: Ellen Goldstein, Heather Hughes, Rosemary Starace