Poetry at The Whipple Museum of the History of Science

Poetry at the Whipple: Darwin’s Microscope

Thursday 23 July, 2-3pm, Whipple Museum of the History of Science, Cambridge.

Free and open to the public.

Kelley Swain is working in collaboration with The Whipple Museum of the History of Science as writer-in-residence to promote science literature through a series of readings, lectures, and writing workshops. On 23 July, Kelley will read from her first book of poetry, Darwin’s Microscope, (Flambard Press,) inspired by her research on Charles Darwin as well as her own studies in biology, from rhododendron to mangroves, sea scallops to cetaceans. The reading will be held in the gallery where Darwin’s own microscope is currently on display as part of a new exhibition.

Kelley is the Secretary of the British Society for Literature and Science. She holds a BA in English from Randolph College and is a graduate of the Munson Institute for Maritime Studies. Her current work is on Caroline Herschel, sister of the famous astronomer William Herschel.

‘Darwin’s Microscope is a rich and personal engagement with Darwin and his science – both helping to bring the feeling of his lived experience into the mind of the reader and connecting our time – and our experiences – with those of the celebrated Victorian man of science.’ –Dr John van Wyhe, Director, The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online, University of Cambridge.

The Human Genre Project and a Darwin Song

The excellent website for The Human Genre Project is live! This takes pieces of short writing (poetry, fiction, etc,) and links them to a particular chromosome on the human genome. It is deeply clever; for example, I submitted a poem (‘jargon’) about my father’s heart attack, and Ken linked it to Chromosome 11, on which there is a gene, KCNQ1, which regulates heartbeat.

I love the site’s deceptively simple design, and for you writers out there, contributions are welcome, so have a look. Thanks to Ken MacLeod, writer-in-residence at the Genomics Forum, for such a lovely website.

In other news, to enlighten your day (or to at least brighten up your day?) a friend of mine sent me this clever song. Thanks, Caitlin!