Join us for an evening of readings and conversation about the biological and chemical sciences as muse for fiction and poetry as you sip a Fountain of Youth Cocktail**.
Hanya Yanagihara‘s novel The People in the Trees explores, among themes of colonization and moral relativism in the social sciences, immortality, the relationship that civilization has to the natural world, and what’s fair to extract from nature and indigenous societies for our own benefit.
Kimiko Hahn turns nature poetry on its head in Toxic Flora, her eighth book of poetry. Inspired by columns from the Science section of The New York Times, “the strange and natural lead to questions, and the questions lead to a greater sense of the strangeness of human behavior [from Poets.org].” She is currently at work on a new series of poems triggered by the study of neuroscience.
Described by one reviewer as “a manual pilfered from an alternate history where science and art never diverged,” Michael Leong’s Cutting Time With a Knife remixes the periodic table of elements as the chemical constituents for his avant garde poetry. We’ll see projections of Michael’s poems, which are as visually interesting as they are inventive on the page.
Sangu Iyer, civil engineer, writer, and environmental activist, will moderate the conversation.
As you enjoy our signature eternal-life-giving cocktail** inspired by the long-lived indigenous tribe in The People in the Trees and created especially for the evening, and chat with our writers about science as the inspiration for their art, just be sure that, as in the Boston Globe‘s words about The People in the Trees, you don’t “suspect the fountain of youth will be tainted, that immortality would have a Faustian hitch.”
This program is co-presented by Kundiman.
**No actual eternal life will be conferred by the drinking of the signature cocktail. The most we can promise is a fine, stimulating evening of sharp conversation with brilliant writers.