From Professor Murasaki’s Notebooks on the Effects of Lightning on the Human Body

Comma Press
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 A John Latham poem is a like a precipitation: images coalesce around a single memory the way ice crystallises around the smallest particle to form a snowflake; the strange logic that constructs them is unique each time. Passionate, satirical, mysterious, the poems in his sixth collection capture the vibrancy of a childhood that still bewitches him half a century later, alongside the cruel betrayals of old age, and the fresh possibilities bound up in each new encounter. Latham’s training as a physicist may bring a cosmic perspective to the landscapes he maps out, but they are also profoundly local. The wonders of the universe are no more mysterious to him than the simple oddity of other humans. And as the title poem demonstrates, every last atom of detail, even the mistakes of a makeshift translation, have the capacity to beguile.

The title poem - From Professor Murasaki’s Notebooks on the Effects of Lightning on the Human Body - won second prize (out of 12,000 entries) in the UK’s most prestigious competition, The National Poetry Competition (2006). 

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About the author

 John Latham is a research scientist who has been awarded several medals by the Royal Meteorological Society, and was for 8 years President of the International Commision on Atmospheric Electricity. Born near Liverpool, he held a chair of physics at the University of Manchester (UMIST) until 1988, before moving partially to the US, where he is presently a Senior Research Fellow at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado. 

In recent years, John has turned his attention full time as a writer of poetry, radio plays, stories, and novels. Several of John’s works have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and his poetry collections include All-Clear(Peterloo Poets, 1990) and Sailor Boy (The Collective Press, 2006). John released the novel Ditch-Crawl with Comma Press in 2004.

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Additional Information

Comma Press
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Published on
Sep 7, 2017
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Poetry / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Poetry / General
Poetry / Subjects & Themes / Death, Grief, Loss
Poetry / Subjects & Themes / Nature
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