Dark Matter: Poems Of Space

ISBN 978 1 903080 10 8 (October 2008)

Poets have long been stargazers, moved by the strange infinities of the universe to translate them into metaphor and song. For Dark Matter, the third in the Gulbenkian Foundation’s trilogy of poetry and science anthologies, leading poets were commissioned to create new work inspired by their discussions with eminent space scientists. Their meditations on the light and dark matters of the skies have been challenged and shaped by their encounter with the critical investigations of astrophysics, whether it’s John Kinsella reflecting on the light echo of supernova 1987A, Antjie Krog recreating the symmetry of the HH212 gas jet or Paul Muldoon’s jaunty take on the expanding universe. The commissioned works are complemented by the editors’ selection of well-known and lesser-known poems from across the ages: John Donne and Emily Dickinson share the stratosphere with Philip Larkin and Adrienne Rich in their explorations of the spaces beyond our world, their ability to make sense of these and to create art from the unknown.

Maurice Riordan received the 2007 Michael Hartnett Award for his latest collection, The Holy Land (Faber), while previous collections, A Word from the Loki and Floods, were nominated for a TS Eliot Prize and a Whitbread Book Award. His other publications include A Quark for Mister Mark: 101 Poems About Science, the ecological anthology Wild Reckoning, and Hart Crane, which has recently appeared in Faber’s ‘Poet to Poet’ series. Born in Lisgold, Co Cork, he lives in London and edits Poetry London.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE is Visiting Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford. As a post-graduate student at Cambridge, she was involved in the discovery of pulsars, for which her supervisor won a Nobel Prize. She has received numerous awards for her work, in the UK and USA, and is President of the Institute of Physics. She has long collected poems on astronomy and contributed to the OUP anthology, Contemporary Poetry and Contemporary Science, in 2006.

The Wall Street Journal 9 May 2009
‘The Independent’ 21 April 2009.
‘Dark Matter’ listed as one of the ten best recent poetry books by Judith Palmer, Director of the Poetry Society
BBC Radio 4 ‘Start the Week’, 15 December 2008
Financial Times, 1 November 2008.
BBC Radio 3 ‘Nightwaves’, 27 October 2008


Updated on 04 march 2022

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