The Measured Word
On Poetry and Science

Edited by Kurt Brown

Essays of discovery on the curious relationship—and fascinating debate—between science and poetry


"What we have in The Measured Word is a treasury of chasm bridgers who (not without some interesting doubts and ironies) have reattached the separate worlds of art and science, using the most sturdy and wonderful of literary engineering skills. What a pleasure to stand in the middle of that bridge and breathe in deeply from both sides of the view!"
—Albert Goldbarth

"Kurt Brown may have edited his best anthology to date, not of poems, but of captivating essays about the connection between science and poetry. Meditations on the similarities and differences between the poetic and scientific imaginations highlight essays by Alice Fulton, Forrest Gander, Miroslav Holub, and nine other poets. This is a book for poets, regardless of their writing style, and one for any reader in search of the mysteries behind a poem."
Bloomsbury Review

"In Nabokovian spirit, The Measured Word establishes that while the scientist's and the poet's uses of language sometimes work at cross-purposes, their temperaments and creative processes correspond . . . These intelligent essays make for inspiring and enriching reading on either side of the chasm."

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Though the interests of science and art frequently seem to inhabit opposite poles, The Measured Word assembles a brilliant anthology of twelve essays that illumine the historic--and newly emerging--relationships between the poetic and scientific imaginations. Assembling the writings of leading contemporary poets, essayists, and thinkers, Kurt Brown highlights ways in which poets use scientific discoveries and mathematical ideas to their artistic advantage--and offers insight on the recently apparent integration of technology and other discoveries into the postmodernist poetry.

Here are meditations on the similarities and differences between the poetic and scientific imagination; on the poetic use of fractals; on hypertext; on the changing shape of poetry in the scientific age. Commentary by Czech poet and immunologist Miroslav Holub, Paul Lake, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Alice Fulton, Forrest Gander, and Stephanie Strickland, among others, presents a diverse selection of opinions. These viewpoints are complemented by many careful, innovative readings of individual poems informed by the sciences.

The writings in this collection not only celebrate the advent of a new age of discovery but also identify the need for a revision of the western thinking that separates the mind and the heart--replacing division with the reciprocity of mutual communication.

Page count: 224 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $25.95

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Kurt Brown is a poet who lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is the author of Return of the Prodigals and the editor of Verse & Universe, Night Out, Drive, They Said, and several other anthologies.