James Thornton gives the Barbican Press 2018 summer poetry reading – to a discerning audience.
James Thornton’s summer reading
‘I don’t generally like poetry or science,’ said one surprised listener. ‘With this I like both! It turns out poetry is the perfect medium for delivering science!’
The reading came from James Thornton’s The Feynman Challenge. ‘What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were a man,’ wrote the physicist Richard Feynman, ‘but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?’
This debut collection picks up Feynman’s challenge. The selections led us into the origins of sex in Scotland, the wonder of the dung beetle, the future of clouds, and the biggest star.
‘James Thornton speaks as both a poet who has colonised science,’ says E.O.Wilson, ‘and a scientist who speaks a poetic tongue.’ Indeed!