The Eyes of Isaac Newton

By Iggy McGovern

12.5020.00

In his fourth collection of poems, poet & physicist Iggy McGovern lets art and science intermingle in poems that range from the domestic to the ekphrastic, from the celebratory to the elaboratory. With trademark formality he runs his eye over an array of themes, some familiar, some less so, allowing for both conversation and collision: An epistolary paean to fellow Ulsterman Seamus Heaney borrows a Latin quotation from a letter by Irish mathematician William Rowan Hamilton to  William Wordsworth; the early history of the quantum revolution is mapped out in clerihew form, and Schrödinger’s cat takes up the position of tour guide in the famous box. The poet’s failure to write “a real love poem” and a childhood memory of near-accidental loss of eyesight are both, somehow, science’s fault. And through it all the eyes have it, narrowing, winking, weeping and (given the right conditions) dilating into Black Holes.

SKU: 9781910251270
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In his fourth collection of poems, poet & physicist Iggy McGovern lets art and science intermingle in poems that range from the domestic to the ekphrastic, from the celebratory to the elaboratory. With trademark formality he runs his eye over an array of themes, some familiar, some less so, allowing for both conversation and collision: An epistolary paean to fellow Ulsterman Seamus Heaney borrows a Latin quotation from a letter by Irish mathematician William Rowan Hamilton to William Wordsworth; the early history of the quantum revolution is mapped out in clerihew form, and Schrödinger’s cat takes up the position of tour guide in the famous box. The poet’s failure to write “a real love poem” and a childhood memory of near-accidental loss of eyesight are both, somehow, science’s fault. And through it all the eyes have it, narrowing, winking, weeping and (given the right conditions) dilating into Black Holes.

“Unaffectedly honest, instructive and entertaining.”
— Eamon Grennan, The Irish Times


The Eyes of Isaac Newton

Let us salute the oddest of them all,
who used a bodkin to investigate
how pressure might affect his own eyeball
yet came down on the right of the debate
that sight is ‘intromittist’ – light received
and not that light from their captains’ piercing eyes
caused soldiers to shield theirs, as was believed
by the ancient Greeks who would philosophize
upon the origins of that salute –
and that this light was made up of corpuscles
(a flyball that Einstein would one day catch),
then played the private eye in hot pursuit
of Chaloner; their last of many tussles
would see the coiner’s bulging-eyed dispatch.

 

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