Exploring the universe through poetry

  • 'We Are Stardust: the universe in verse' by Bill Chatfield. Courtesy photo—

  • Wraparound Universe Image courtesy of Jeff Weeks

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/19/2021 12:05:44 PM

Black holes, dark matter and far-off galaxies fascinate Bill Chatfield, and that interstellar interest shines through the pages of the Peterborough author’s latest poetry collection “We Are Stardust.”

Whenever Chatfield reads something that piques his interest about space exploration, he saves it, and many of those articles have inspired his poetry. In the last couple of years, Chatfield churned out so many poems about the universe he had a good start for a book, so he kept writing and now has a newly released collection of poems that explores the connections between life on Earth and in the wider universe.

“It was just to get them down on paper,” Chatfield said. “The poems have a range. A few are about Earth, because after all, we’re all part of the universe.”

About half of the poems are accompanied by images, many of which were created by NASA. Another came from a book Chatfield came across a number of years ago, “The Wraparound Universe” by Jean-Pierre Luminet, a French astrophysicist, artist, and poet who wote about the topology of the universe.

“I thought ‘how cool,’ ” Chatfield said. “It’s just an oddball concept.”

Chatfield said many of the topics he writes about are complex. His goal is to simplify them.

“Maybe the poems will help people understand the simple concepts,” he said.

Putting the book together gave Chatfield another idea: what if his work inspires others to write their own poetry centered around the universe and all it entails. So as part of the release, Peterborough Poetry Project is inviting readers to write their own poems about the cosmos and submit them for consideration to be published in a second edition of the book. Luminet and Wayne Allen Jones, President of Chicago Poets Club, will help judge submissions. Poems will be accepted through May 13, 2021. Guidelines for submitted poems can be found on the Peterborough Poetry Project website and in the book.

The book even has three pages of internet and book references so readers can do further research.

This is Chatfield’s second solo publication, adding to “Out of Darkness,” released in 2020, and the fifth for Peterborough Poetry Project.

All five books are available at the Toadstool Bookshops. The Toadstool also accepts online orders and offers curbside delivery and mail order. “We Are Stardust” copies may be ordered from the publisher by mailing a check for $14 per book to: Peterborough Poetry Project, PO Box 247, Peterborough NH 03458.

More information, including book prices, cover photos, author bios, and representative poems from each book are at peterboroughpoetryproject.org/books.

For more info, email peterboroughpoetry@gmail.com.




Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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