The Alchemy of the Mind and Spirit: Intersections of Science and Poetry




Bastone, Gina
Cota, Mitch

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The UT Poetry Center opened the Fall 2016 semester with an exhibit that explores interplay between science and poetry. We sometimes falsely assume a divide between the study of science and the creation of art. But in searching through the works in the UT Poetry Center, we found poets who playfully incorporate the laws of physics into their poems and scientists who write poetry as a meditation on nature and everyday life. The exhibit title comes from acclaimed writer Diane Ackerman’s book An alchemy of mind: The marvel and mystery of the brain. Though a work of prose, it is a poetic exploration of neuroscience and humans’ intellectual evolution. We drew inspiration from Ackerman’s dissection of the “left-brain versus right-brain” debate, agreeing with her that the distinction is more arbitrary than actual scientific fact. One person can live in both hemispheres and engage in both scientific discovery and poetic expression. We hope visitors find the same intrigue and interplay in these selections of poetry.

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