The Universe in Verse

15 Portals to Wonder through Science & Poetry

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Pub Date 1 Oct 2024 | Archive Date 1 Oct 2024
Storey Publishing | Storey Publishing, LLC

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The Universe in Verse is an ode to wonder and an exploration of the human search for truth and meaning. 

Poetry and science, as Popova writes in her introduction, "are instruments for knowing the world more intimately and loving it more deeply." In 15 short essays on subjects ranging from the mystery of dark matter and the infinity of pi to the resilience of trees and the intelligence of octopuses, Popova tells the stories of scientific searching and discovery. These stories are interwoven with details from the very real and human lives of scientists—many of them women, many underrecognized—and poets inspired by the same questions and the beauty they reveal. Each essay is paired with a poem reflecting its subject by poets ranging from Emily Dickinson, W. H. Auden, and Edna St. Vincent Millay to Maya Angelou, Diane Ackerman, and Tracy K. Smith, and is stunningly illustrated by celebrated artist Ofra Amit. Together, they wake us to a "reality aglow with wonder."
The Universe in Verse is an ode to wonder and an exploration of the human search for truth and meaning. 

Poetry and science, as Popova writes in her introduction, "are instruments for knowing the...

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ISBN 9781635868838
PRICE US$22.00 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

Having spent a lifetime contemplating and exploring the universe, the nature of the infinite and time, our connections and consciousness, I find this a special and fascinating book. Inevitably, those of us who follow this trajectory and expand our minds and beings to explore what is will make varying discoveries and perhaps come to different conclusions (though I have yet to find a satisfactory end to anything), so it is always a pleasure to be given a window onto those of others. The Universe in Verse offers an exploration of the marriage between the poetic and scientific, the views and perspectives of both over time, in ways I am both familiar and unfamiliar with.
I found the feminist angle fascinating, something I was aware of but hadn’t quite pieced together in this way. I suspect philosophy, reality and science would be much further along had the voice of women been more welcome.
One new perspective to offer. Differing views of reality are described as a shifting plane, which is a perfectly fine way to describe it. However, the way it looks to me is like a multifaceted diamond, or a mirror ball, where each of us stands on one facet. The view from there, the way the light is reflected, will differ depending on where we find ourselves. To share what we are able to see from our standpoint will increase us all, but claiming our view is the only real one does the reverse. So thank you Maria for sharing your view and your light.
I enjoyed the pictures. My only complaint is that my preferred way of reading is on a Kindle, and this book was not available in that format. I hope that will be rectified at some point.

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Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read and review this ARC!

This is one of those books I want to own and have a copy off on my shelf and give to people I love. They truly do not make anthologies like this all that often; which is, to say, that it is absolutely wonderful.

Maria Popova has put together a beautiful collection of poems that are interesting and really good, and accompanied each with a concept to be explored. She herself, writes beautifully, like a poet writing prose, each word saturated with love. She reminds us of the beauty and imagination in science, a field that has often been called cold because of its focus on rationality.

I would put her in the company of some of my favourites like James Crews and William Seighart, and I can't wait for the next collection she puts together; although I should tell her that the bar is incredibly high now.

I would never recommend a poetry collection to my grandmother, who has much better taste than I do in literature, but this is one I would not hesitate to give her. I know that compliment might not mean much to someone, but it's the highest one I can give.

The illustrations by Ofra Amit were also a lovely touch!

A well deserved, and easy, 5 stars!

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I have long been a fan of Maria Popova and this book is absolutely beautiful. I took my time reading it with devotion and as a devotional. The artwork is stunning. The histories and threads that tie together our world through poetry is breath-taking. I can't wait to purchase this for holiday gifts.

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A truly stunning book within such an original concept.

Illustration. Context. Poem.

Each poem is preceded by it's context within the wider universe, that which ties us to the poem in question. We read about the universe in all it's glory, which follows stunning illustrations which represents both the context and the poem.

A beautiful gift for a lover of art, the universe and poetry.

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I absolutely adore this combination of history, science, and literature. Each poem is precluded by a short bit of scientific history and the following poem relates to that branch or era of science. It's a lovely book that really pulled me in. As a scientist, this is a beautiful book.

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This short collection is a beautiful reflection of the vastness of the world around us from various elements of nature and into the cosmos. The combination of art and science creates a wonderful transitional space to explore these ideas through a softer lens. It is always a joy to learn beloved authors have a background in sciences and see how this can influence their works. I particularly enjoyed learning more about women in sciences throughout the years; they are often not household names but their contributions to their respective fields cannot be understated.

I loved the short introductions that provided context for each poem; I found them incredibly helpful and enabled a deeper connection to each piece. I also thought the illustrations were a lovely touch throughout the anthology.

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I knew I would love this book as soon as I read the beautiful dedication
“For Emily, who returned her borrowed stardust to the universe far too soon.”

There’s a line in the book which describe humans as “Small awestruck creatures with vast complex consciousness.” Which I found so beautiful. I remember first learning about the golden disc and how we are all made of stardust and how emotional it made me. This book perfectly encapsulates those feelings.

This is a love letter to the universe itself!

Thanks to NetGalley and publishers for letting me read this book in exchange for an honest review!

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A beautiful anthology with lovely illustrations, poetry, and delightful essays. I really enjoyed reading this book and I am so happy to have received a preview of this book. I plan to order a copy of this book for myself and family members who also love space and poetry.

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I loved every second of reading this! This collection brought so many concepts to light for me that I never gave much thought to before, and I learned a lot of new information, especially about the contributions of specific women in science, mathematics, and astronomy.

Each of the 15 segments is about a different topic and includes a sort of prelude to a poem of the same topic. The introductions give some background on the concepts themselves (from things like black holes to radioactivity to octopi) and connects those concepts to the poem it introduces. I found myself wanting more from the parts that preceded the poems, wanting to know more about each concept, but I had to remind myself they really are just serving as introductions.

I don't really have anything negative to say besides that I wish it were longer and included more "portals"! This concept is so unique.

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