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
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.
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