Over several years we have hosted the results of poetry competitions organised and judged by Jonathan Taylor, a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at The University of Leicester in the UK. Here, Jonathan gives some details about the latest competition and discusses the link between poetry and science.
Other student poems from previous competitions are included here, here, here, here, and here. Poems by Jonathan Taylor that were also inspired by Chandra discoveries are "Black Hole in B-flat", "History Lesson" and "!!**&@??".
About the competition
As part of their second year, Creative Writing students at the University of Leicester are encouraged to explore some of the fascinating overlaps between their subject and science. There is a long tradition, for example, of poetry about scientific subjects, and, conversely, science is itself full of poetry, imagery, analogy and storytelling. This is all very clear from many of the Chandra X-ray Observatory's research and press releases — and from the many examples of poetry previously inspired by Chandra's findings. So Creative Writing students were invited to enter a competition, in which they were asked to submit poems inspired — directly or indirectly — by one of Chandra's press releases. The winner of the competition is Fraser McIntosh, with his poem 'VLA J2130 + 12.'
VLA J2130 +12
Vlad, can I call you Vlad?
You must be quite the recluse
To elude us all these years.
Your song, your humble song
Has deceived our clever ears.
A Neutron star, a white dwarf, an ultra-cool dwarf star?
No, you are VLA J2130 + 12
We now know who you are.
You're very special, well... at least you will be,
Till we discover the other millions of you
Dotted around the galaxy.
By Fraser McIntosh, inspired by 'VLA J2130 + 12: Clandestine Black Hole May Represent New Population,' June 27 2016, http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2016/vla/