Transforium – notes on process

When Tammy Lu and I first began to discuss the possibility of collaboration, we were both struck by the interests we shared: the relationship of place (physical, emotional or psychological) to creative content and emergence, the intersection of art/poetry/science, cosmology and cosmogony, and the biosemiotic tango of all living things in and within the dynamic flux of changing environments. Commonalities continue to emerge.

As an eco-science poet who has tumbled, quite gleefully, into the field of biosemiotics the questions that compel me are: What is the nature of poetic and/or creative emergence? What is the zygote and epigenisis of a poem or work of art? How does the poet read and interact with her environment, or semiosphere, in order to translate emotions, memories, sounds, smells, disconnected images, into the phonemes, syllables, words, lines and stanzas of a poems that resonates with the reader/listener. By what mechanisms does a poem or artwork evoke emotional or physiological response? Both Tammy and I believe in the concepts behind biosemiotics. Of course molecules, organisms and animals (human and non-human) communicate in and with the environment. We hear them. We are constantly on the lookout for signs.

The genesis of art, poetry and biological process involves multiple pathways and signals—which involves both an element of chance and of choice. And, in in the case of this collaboration, a psychic/philosophic twinning and echoing. Synchronicity. Not surprisingly, I am currently working on a series of “Echologues,” poems that echo other poems, using ancient Greek lexicons. And a series of poems influenced by alchemical images and texts, creation myths and Jungian psychology.  The poem that Tammy has used to generate the images for this proposal is the first in a recent series of “Feral Verses”—immediate, non-meditated, epigenetic responses to the post-dream, pre-conscious semiosphere. As a “unified collaboration of text and design” our methodology is a simultaneous relinquishing of control and a joint participation in the shaping of content and final outcome, where the visual content of Tammy’s typographical cosmology is indeed “inextricable from the text itself.”

The landscapes and semiospheres of our call-response, echo-chant, poetic and artistic dance will be both process and artefact—a visceral-psychic, cerebral layering and interplay open to multiple readings, interpretations, and ways of interacting with art and text. The physical unfolding of the book by the reader/viewer in turn echoes the unfolding of a mapped landscape, and a metaphorical unfolding of a tactile, physical, dynamic universe.




Posted in biosemiotics, ecopoetics, poetry, saskatchewan writer, science poetry | 3 Comments

Lost in Transition – 21st Century Anchoress…

After two weeks in a hermitage at the edge of the woods at St. Peter’s Abby…. reading strange and obscure text from the college library.. such as..

Very few recluses had chairs at all; at stone bench sufficed as a seat, and the greater number spent their days and part of their nights in prayer, mortification, and manual labour…(Anchoresses of the West, p. 40 )

I, on the other hand, had chairs, tables converted wood stove in which I roasted garlic for  cocktails at the hermitage. Also had expresso pot, wine glasses, toaster, bird food for the chickadees, redpolls. pine grosbeaks, bohemian waxwings. Had a visitation from woodpeckers, heard coyotes, and (according to Dave Carpenter who knows these things) a timber wolf.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Poem in Aesthetica Magazine’s Creative Works Competition 2010

Swallowtail Catastrophe          with a nod to Rene Thom

Dilemma: In the schoolyard perimeter the paper plane is made up of three surfaces of folds, which meet in two lines, which in turn meet at a single swallowtail bifurcation point. Then it crashes.

Formula:        V = x5 + ax3 + bx2 + cx

Elucidation:   It’s one thing to see a stuffed polar bear, moth eaten and dusty, its neck wrapped in beads and a silly hat on its head. Another to meet a real bear in the woods while oblivious to territorial claw marks but open to surreal wilderness experiences. Yet another to have your photo taken on Dali’s lip couch in the courtyard of his villa under the scorching Costa Brava sun with the Michelin man standing guard. And later, alone in the swimming pool back at the modest hotel observing wave patterns, angles of index and refraction, minimum-maximum pairs, and wondering about lost chances when a swallow dives just above your head, fanning its tail as if to say Follow me! What have you got to lose if you go with the dark Basque stranger to his parakeet sanctuary in the dusty hills? Your heart, your life, your plane ticket home?

Notation: Where V is the tip of the Swallow’s tail, x the object of attraction, a the direct route home, b the branching behaviour, and c the traveller.

Posted in biosemiotics, ecopoetics, poetry, saskatchewan writer, science poetry, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Some new math poems

Delighted to have three poems published in the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics recently alongside so much insightful and inspiring work. Thanks Gizem et. al.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Researching an article on graphene made me think of this poem.

Acoustic Phonons

Listen ear to heart thumb to Vega nervous
oscillations simply mechanical and fine
machinery of body parts of quasiparticles.
The problem is complicated. Squealing frequency
of acoustic phonons due to elastic deformation.
Imprints on skin white or red depending upon
thermal fluctuations at room temperature
or some kind of violation. The literature filled
with erroneous formula, tongues embedded
in a solid matrix such as glass, sheets littered
with charged particles. Noble metals in particular,
sound speeds varying drastically with direction.
Remove the ring and this won’t matter. Take off
the watch and you won’t hear a thing.

From CosmoSonnets (JackPine Press, 2007)


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

poem for warmer weather

Hermitage Poem

Day Seven

Sun licks twisted bark,
melting primordial knots
on bony shoulders.

Sudden hollow snap overhead
more like tongue click –
thogngnk to the left,
thogngkn thogngnk
to the right,
woods alive with tongue clicks of trees
stretching limbs
thawing muscles
heralding warmer weather.

– from Suicide Psalms (Anvil Press 2008)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

poem from “CosmoSonnets”





Quantum Leap

Try building a universe from scratch
quarks on up, it’s true they travel in packs
of threes, red green blue, inseparable
as adolescents in coordinated fleece,
bound by gluons they eventually become one
proton or neutron with no colour at all. White
Madonna in need of a partner. Boys lined up
against the gym, buddies/anti-buddies growing
unstable, mesons that like to mess around
turn into electrons and nefarious particles, spin
girls on their heels, carry them off by force.
Attraction electromagnetic they orbit around her
make a quantum leap to the heart’s core
emitting a whoop and a photon of light.

– from CosmoSonnets (JackPine Press, 2007)

Aside | Posted on by | Tagged | Leave a comment

Welcome to my poetic domain!

Finally, a site up and running! Now I just need to link to my own URL… Much more to come, like sample poems, musings, rants, errata, so please check back soon.


Posted in biosemiotics, ecopoetics, poetry, saskatchewan writer, science poetry | 2 Comments