Sunday, April 8, 2012

Planetary Poetry for National Poetry Month

Image:  Science - Saturn's satellite Titan
Time goes by way, way too fast.  Perhaps that's why the main character in my science fiction universe is a time traveler.  Part of me wishing I had more time, and some device to help me put it all in order.  Not that that is what his life is like ... so I probably should count myself lucky that I am forced into this linear lifestyle.

The linear nature of time has brought me to April, already.  It's been productive off-line, with ongoing edits to two novels that really need them.  But I am glad to find myself in April with an excuse to deviate from the novel-editing and into poetry for a brief while.  As you know, I've been one of those crazy folks who tries to write a poem a day in April to celebrate National Poetry Month.  I don't put my drafts up here on the blog, since I am working towards a specific project that I hope will be published.  But really, I have written poems this month (ahem, cough).  Really.  Okay, not one a day.  I have three, and several pages of notes, but you work with what you have.

Image: Phobos
I do, however, really enjoy going to the sites of other authors and checking out their daily posts.  Scientist and musician Andrew Rivkin continues to impress me with his dedication to the month.  For three years, he has posted a poem a day in April to his blog Imperturbable Music.  First it was a month of baseball poetry, then last year it was elements from the periodic table.  This year the theme seems to be planetary satellites.  Again, he has chosen not to divulge the name of the target, but instead leaves it to the reader to uncover the poem's inspiration like a riddle.

In addition, each poem contains so many references and allusions to topics relating to the satellite that each one of these is a small puzzle in and of itself.  I'm a planetary scientist, and am hard pressed to identify every single reference.  They are drawn from science, history, literature, religion, mythology, and on and on.

Here's a passage from today's poem "One of the Friends."

How many stories she could tell,
and what secrets lurk,
peeking out from inside!
Joining the TNO diaspora,
riding with the Centaurs,
greeting Cassini at the city gates
and consenting to a few pictures
before going on her own way.

Image:  Art's Conception of probing below Europa's Ice
His quirky poetry was noted on the The Planetary Society blog, penned by Emily Lakdawalla.  As always, I enjoy seeing where literature, science, and art come together.  I encourage you to tap into your own favorite speculative fiction topic, and see if the muse strikes you to create a few lines of verse.  Or go ahead and get back to novel writing - that's cool, too.  :)
Pax, All

Images: NASA and NASA/JPL. Titan - Color stretched to show detail. Phobos - Again, color stretched like crazy. Third image is a NASA artist's conception of a probe looking for life under Europa's icy lithosphere. Shown are imagined geothermal vents. My opinion? Ah, life is not too likely, here. But I'd still use it for story-fodder.  Lines from the poem "One of the Friends" are reprinted here with permission from the author, Andrew Rivkin.


Andy said...

Thanks for the link, this year and last! No idea if it'll be a science theme next year for NaPoWriMo, but I still have half of this month to get through so no sense in looking too far ahead.... :)

JA Grier (ee/em/eir) said...

Sure thing! Keep on writing! Can't wait to see what you choose for a theme next year.