Who but Robin Chapman would think of Planck's equation, Einstein and quanta while
chopping onions, the origins of the universe while pork fat sizzles in the pan? With a
scientist's knowledge and a poet's eye for beauty and correspondences, she tracks the stars
and considers the fate of the earth; hers is an acute, observant gaze that moves with ease
from paleontology to the private lives of rabbits in poems that join the work of intellect
-Eleanor Wilner, author of Reversing the Spell and The Girl with Bees in Her Hair.
In One Hundred White Pelicans, Robin Chapman continues her compelling poetic exploration
of the natural world. As she moves from Wisconsin to France, from broad landscapes to
the microscopic, from the news that spills out of our televisions to what biology tell us
will be the fate of our troubled world, the scientist in her explains while the poet gives
us hope. One Hundred White Pelicans is a wise and wondrous book that will make you
worried for our world and long for its redemption.
-Jesse Lee Kercheval, author of Cinema Muto, Dog Angel, and World as Dictionary.
One of my favorite words is 'redolent,' and these poems are certainly that: redolent of
a damp Adirondack trail, and of an imagined parched future. A future that we can still
prevent, but only with great acts of the imagination and the will.
-Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth, Deep Economy, and The End of Nature.
The poems in Robin Chapman's One Hundred White Pelicans interweave a story of
some of nature's most sacred treasures, now threatened by looming environmental crises.
Chapman's ideas are so rich, and in ten or so lines she cuts to the essence of scientific
concepts and heated debates. From oil disasters and the gulf coast dead zone, to the
imminent end of arctic settlements and the pine beetle's path of destruction spurred by
global warming, Chapman lays bare today's inconvenient truths. Her poem, "Cassandra
on Prozac" makes clear that solutions abound, yet even the simplest elude our grasp in a
world divided by competing interests. Yet Chapman delivers some "flashes of hope" that
celebrate successful innovations - simple in design yet large in impact that can "seed the
future" and provide hope in the face of today's challenges. In short, Chapman's collection
of poems represents one of the most concise, yet penetrating, assessments of the state of
our world that I have ever read.
-Jonathan Patz, Professor and Director, UW-Madison Global Health Institute
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About the Author
Robin Chapman is professor emerita of communicative disorders at the University of Wisconsin. She is the author of three books and five chapbooks of poetry, including The Way In and Images of a Complex World: The Art and Poetry of Chaos, both winners of the Posner Poetry Award. Judith Strasser retired in 1999 from her position as senior producer and interviewer for To the Best of Our Knowledge, the nationally syndicated NPR program.