ORIGINS: Elizabeth Hazen’s “Thanatosis”


liz hazen

In today’s ORIGINS, poet Elizabeth Hazen talks about the inspiration for her poem “Thanatosis, ” which appears in the just-released 2013 Best American Poetry (and originally was published in the Southwest Review). You can access the poem online here at The Baltimore Fishbowl).

 In the past few years, my writing process has involved transforming found text about scientific principles into verse. Many of my recent poems have actually originated in passages from science books or websites; I highlight paragraphs from these texts and lift phrases I like. By the time I have meaning in the scientific explanations that resonates with me both intellectually and emotionally, and by the time I have instituted meter (which I use in much of my work), the original text has disappeared completely. The principles and their metaphorical significance, I hope, remain. My understanding of the “hard” science may remain tenuous, but nonetheless I…

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