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Radial Symmetry - Larson, Katherine; Glück, Louise - Yale University Press
Science
Literary Studies

Series Information
Yale Series of Younger Poets

Radial Symmetry

  • Katherine Larson; Foreword by Louise Glück
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Winner of the 2012 Levis Reading Prize from Virginia Commonwealth University

Finalists for the 2012 ForeWord Book of the Year Award in the Poetry category (winners will be announced 23 June)

Winner of the 2012 Kate Tufts Discovery Award given by Claremont Graduate University

Katherine Larson is the winner of the 2010 Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition. With Radial Symmetry, she has created a transcendent body of poems that flourish in the liminal spaces that separate scientific inquiry from empathic knowledge, astute observation from sublime witness. Larson's inventive lyrics lead the reader through vertiginous landscapes—geographical, phenomenological, psychological—while always remaining attendant to the speaker's own fragile, creaturely self. An experienced research scientist and field ecologist, Larson dazzles with these sensuous and sophisticated poems, grappling with the powers of poetic imagination as well as the frightful realization of the human capacity for ecological destruction. The result is a profoundly moving collection: eloquent in its lament and celebration.

Metamorphosis [excerpt]

We dredge the stream with soup strainers 

and separate dragonfly and damselfly nymphs-

their eyes like inky bulbs, jaws snapping

at the light as if the world was full of

tiny traps, each hairpin mechanism

tripped for transformation. Such a ricochet

of appetites insisting life, life, life against

the watery dark, the tuberous reeds. 

Katherine Larson is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship and Union League Civic and Arts Foundation Poetry Prize. She lives in Arizona.

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