Radial Symmetry

Today I’m reading Katherine Larson, it’s an extraordinary experience! The first poem in her collection is called Statuary, it goes like this:

The late cranes throwing
their necks to the wind stay
somewhere between
the place that rain begins
and the place that it ends
they seem to exist just there
above the horizon at least
I only see them that way
tossed up
against the gray October
light not heavy enough
for feet to be useful or
useless enough to make
gravity untie its string. I’m sick
of this stubbornness
but the earthworms
seem to think it all right
they move forward
and let the world pass
through them they eat
and eat at it, content to connect
everything through
the individual links
of their purple bodies to stay
one place would be death.
But somewhere between
the crane and the worm
between the days I pass through
and the days that pass
through me
is the mind. And memory
which outruns the body and
grief which arrests it.

You can listen to the poem here

Katherine Larson: Radial Symmetry (2011), selected by Louise Glück as the winner of the 2010 Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition and published by Yale University Press.

def. Radial symmetry: Symmetrical arrangement of constituents, especially of radiating parts, about a central point.

I’ve been stealing moments all week to read Katherine Larson’s book of poems, Radial SymmetryThe synthesis of experience and curiosity that Larson no doubt uses in her work as a field ecologist and research scientist is here applied to verse. The natural world has never felt more physical, more alive with tiny movements and infinite textures—and so titillating, as when she writes, “We hear the cactus whisper / pollinate me furry moth.

—Nicole Rudick, The Paris Review

3 Comments Add yours

  1. KM Huber says:

    Thanks for the introduction to Katherine Larson, Sigrun, much appreciated.

    1. Sigrun says:

      I just discovered her work, like it a lot!
      All the best!

  2. Thank you Sigrun for letting us share. Best, MW

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