Jan 6, 2023
For a special New Year’s treat, we take a tour through the history of the universe with the help of… poets. Our guide is Maria Popova, who writes the popular blog The Marginalian (formerly Brain Pickings), and the poetry is from her project, “The Universe in Verse” — an annual event where poets read poems about science, space, and the natural world.
Special thanks to all of our poets, musicians, and performers: Marie Howe, Tracy K. Smith, Rebecca Elson, Joan As Police Woman, Patti Smith, Gautam Srikishan, Zoe Keating, and Emily Dickinson.
Reported by - Lulu Miller
with help from - Maria Popova
Produced by - Sindhu Gnanasambandan
with mixing help from - Jeremy Bloom
Fact-checking by - Natalie A. Middleton
and Edited by - Pat Walters
FURTHER READING AND RESEARCH:
To dig deeper on this one, we recommend
- Tracy K Smith’s “Life On Mars” (https://zpr.io/weTzGTbZyVDT)
- Marie Howe’s “The Kingdom Of Ordinary Times” (https://zpr.io/Tj9cWTsQxHG3)
- Rebecca Elson’s “A Responsiblity To Awe” (https://zpr.io/PLR3KL8SfuPR)
- Patti Smith’s “Just Kids” (https://zpr.io/zM47P5KqqKZx)
- Joan As Policewoman (https://joanaspolicewoman.com/)
- Gautam Srikishan (https://www.floatingfast.com/)
- Zoe Keating (https://www.zoekeating.com/)
- The Marginalian blog post (https://zpr.io/abTuDFH9pfwu) about Vera Rubin
- Check out photos of Emily Dickinson’s Herbarium (https://zpr.io/XkgTscKBfem6), a book of 424 flowers she picked and pressed and identified while studying the wild botany of Massachusetts.
Tracy K. Smith, “My God, It’s Full of Stars” from Such Color: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2011 by Tracy K. Smith. Read by the author and used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.
Fun fact: This episode was inspired by the fact that many Navy ships record the first log entry of the New Year in verse! To see some of this year's poems and learn about the history of the tradition, check out this post by the Naval History and Heritage Command. And, if you want to read a bit from Lulu's interview with sailor poet Lt. Ian McConnaughey, subscribe to our newsletter.
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Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.