MacArthur fellow Linda Bierds probes the borders of science and faith in a volume that takes this prizewinning poet to a new level of achievement.
The ghost of the good monk Gregor Mendel haunts these poems as they trundle through the centuries, swaying from wonder to foreboding and resting most often on the fault line of science, where human achievement brings both praise and disquietude.
These thirty linked poems display Linda Bierds at her best: strong, visceral, playful, infused with wonder and color, they both amaze and delight. Bierds’s imagery has always been powerful, but here, the subtlety of its permutations throughout the volume is nothing short of breathtaking. Her treatment of substance and insubstantiality, of the material world and “the hummocks of naught”-the gaps filled perhaps by faith, perhaps by scientific progress-adds depth of meaning to the text, and her rich language sounds in the mind’s ear to startling effect.
First Hand proves yet again that Linda Bierds is “a poet of magnitude” (Harold Brodkey). It is a book of wonders, a wondrous book
Linda Bierds has been awarded fellowships from the MacArthur, John Simon Guggenheim, Ingram-Merrill, Wolfers-O’Neill, and Rockefeller Foundations; and has received the PEN West Poetry Prize, the Poetry Society of America’s Consuelo Ford Award, the Virginia Quarterly Review’s Emily Clark Balch Poetry Prize,… More about Linda Bierds