"Quantum Poetics: Language and Reality in Physics and Poetry"

Who: Amy Catanzano, Wake Forest University in North Carolina, USA

Place: Donostia International Physics Center. Pº Manuel de Lardizabal 4, Donostia / San Sebastián

Date: Wednesday, 25 May 2016, 12:00


Amy Catanzano
Lecture and Poetry Reading

Quantum Poetics: Language and Reality in Physics and Poetry

This presentation will include a talk on poetry and science as linked modes of inquiry as well as a poetry reading from her latest books. The speaker will explore the intersections of poetry and science through the context of quantum poetics, a theory and practice she has developed that applies principles of physics to poetry and poetics as well as principles of poetry and poetics to physics in order to metacritically investigating both disciplines.

Quantum poetics explores, among other subjects, how physical reality is assumed, imagined, and tested through language at discernible and indiscernible scales of spacetime. As a writer whose poetry is influenced by avant-garde literary traditions as well as physics, her discussion will emphasize questions of language and reality in poetry and quantum mechanics. She will discuss the principle of indeterminacy in relation to aesthetic ambiguity; novel forms of spacetime in quantum theory, relativity, string theory, and poetry; projection and translation between mathematics and ordinary language in physics and between poetry and ordinary language in literature; quantum superposition in relation to literary and scientific interpretation; the role of the observer, observable, and subject position in quantum theory and poetry; and the metaphorical and material links between the quantum jump and the imagination.

How can poetry and poetics treat questions of existence and linguistic meaning not only through thematic content but poetic form, experimental procedure, and methods of interpretation informed by science? What principles of poetry and poetics can scientists draw from to bring further insight, transdisciplinary breadth, and innovation to their work?

At the end of the presentation, the public will be invited to questions, commentary, and conversation.

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Amy Catanzano is an American poet and cross-genre writer whose work explores the transdisciplinary intersections of poetry and science with a focus on quantum mechanics and innovative art and literature. Her visit to DIPC is part of an investigative experiment in quantum poetics that starts with travel from the United States to CERN to conduct creative and scholarly research through the support of an Archie Fund for the Arts and Humanities grant from Wake Forest University in North Carolina, USA, where she is an assistant professor and poet-in-residence. Catanzano then goes to the Laboratorio Subterráneo de Canfranc in the Spanish Pyrenees, where she has been invited by the physicist and writer Juan José Gómez Cadenas to be present for the formal review of his experiment in neutrinos. Next is her visit to DIPC, where she will give a talk and poetry reading on science and poetry. She will then participate in a poetry festival in Paris and perform her poetry in the Ivy Writers Paris Reading Series. Catanzano?s latest book is Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella, recipient of the Noemi Press Book Award for Fiction. She is also the author of Multiversal, recipient of the PEN USA Literary Award in Poetry, and iEpiphany.

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