BOOK REVIEW
 


WordTech Editions
84 pages
$18 retail
 
ISBN:  9781625490254  

Buy this book
 
 

This collection of poetry uses the maps of the moon created by Jesuit astronomers Giovanni Battista Riccioli and Francesco Maria Grimaldi as a springboard for poems that use the act of observing, mapping and charting the moon as metaphors.

The sea of tranquility, the fecund sea, the sea of crises, the sea of cold, name not only the gulps and dips of the moon, but also the craters of the human condition.  So, gazing upon the moon, we become, like Riccioli and Grimaldi, amazed scientists of human nature, studying it, naming it. The reader, and the poet, become astronomers of the heart and mind.

Each poem functions as a map that charts territory. Take for example, the poem, "Scapes," wherein a first-person narrator, after detailing the oppositions found in Riccioli's maps, particularly how the lands of Mann, Nectar and Fruitfulness are  hemispherically opposed to a land of Epidemics, asks if she also charts new globes.
 
  And what map am I drafting?

Laid out for any traveler's eye---
for yours---oceans of music, glittering,
surround whole continents daylight

seldom reaches,
                               How ornate the coastlines

eroding, accreting.  Far out to sea,

in waves that are littered for miles,
fragments of paper floating and sinking,

little islands called Contentment
                                                         drift


These poems are deep, reflective, each one bringing to the reader's mind a contemplation about the astronomical role we play in the universe. Each one of us a poet scientist, we map out our relationship to the natural and metaphysical world.

Reviewed by Mary Ann Sullivan
    May 2013