Thursday, October 07, 2010

Fascinating article in the NY times today, regarding the Muslim Mosque controversy, and how this has happened all before, 200 years ago in New York . . .

Many New Yorkers were suspicious of the newcomers’ plans to build a house of worship in Manhattan. Some feared the project was being underwritten by foreigners. Others said the strangers’ beliefs were incompatible with democratic principles.

Concerned residents staged demonstrations, some of which turned bitter.

But cooler heads eventually prevailed; the project proceeded to completion. And this week, St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Lower Manhattan — the locus of all that controversy two centuries ago and now the oldest Catholic church in New York State — is celebrating the 225th anniversary of the laying of its cornerstone.


I received Kelli Agodon's new book, Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, a week or so ago and have been enjoying it very much. Her poems have a wonderful mix of word play, humor, pathos, and philosophical musing. Strongly recommended!

Here's a taste:


It's impossible to see a black bra
directly as no light can escape from it,
still there are supernovas, dark matter,

meteorites in its path. The black bra
understands its usefulness is overrated.
It's problematic under a white

shirt of a white woman, unprofessional
peeking out of a blazer. To see
observational evidence of black bras

you do not need to borrow
the Hubble Telescope to view the Hourglass
Nebula, their existence is well-supported,

a gravitational field so strong
nothing can escape. Black bras
can be found in the back of a Vega

between the vinyl seats. It is the star
the boy wishes on -- he is never the master
of the unhook, Orion unfastening

his constellation belt. Let it remain
a mystery, something almost seen,
almost touched in a Galaxy. I'd call it

rocketworthy, but there is cosmic
censorship, naked singularities
to consider. The black bra has electric

charge, too close to the event horizon,
a man disappears in its loophole, escape
velocity equal to the speed of light.

pg 82


I wonder if this poem started out as a word play exercise, replacing every instance of "black hole" with "black bra" in a science article, and then just took on a life of its own? It is just delightful the mix of science, sex, humor, and cosmology. I just love it. Kudos Kelli Russell Agodon!

PS: I believe Kelli has a book release reading coming up, Sunday, October 17th at Open Books. 3 PM. Be there.

1 comment:

Kells said...

Thanks, Peter! You're too sweet!

And you're very close about that poem, I had been reading about black holes and had a Victoria's Secret catalog on my desk! The two just mingled together...

And yes, that is my big release reading. I so love Open Books! Can't wait!

Thanks for the shoutout and so glad you are enjoying the book!