Contemporary Canadian Literature with a Distinctly Urban Twist

Anvil Press

Unus Mundus

Unus Mundus

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In this, her ninth collection of poetry, Mari-Lou Rowley explores how we, as a species, have moved beyond our search for a union with the cosmos—in the spiritual sense—to the desire to conquer its mysteries and exploit its resources.


“This manuscript is scientifically, philosophically, and aesthetically informed, and uses formal conventions and strategies to unique and surprising effect. We are taken on imaginative journeys through space, time, and objects in the CosmoSonnets, and into fifth and sixth dimensions through such poems as ‘This morning the gangsta movie in my head exploded’ and ‘Mutated Interview with European Space Agency Astronaut on Space Debris and other Interstellar Phenomena.’ A confident and challenging voice; a cosmic vision.”
—Jury Comments, John V. Hicks Long Manuscript Award


“Rowley has a ferociously active and fertile mind and she covers vast territories more easily than one can imagine. She does this with poetry that challenges and rewards in equal measure… This is an experienced poet at the top of her game and in full control.”
—Michael Dennis, blog


“Rowley repeatedly astonishes with her ability to incorporate science and the vocabulary of science into her poetry all the while remaining attuned to the musicality of the language…”
— Arc Poetry Magazine


From the Author:
As an eco-science poet who has tumbled, quite gleefully, into the field of biosemiotics the questions that compel me are: What is the nature of poetic and/or creative emergence? What is the zygote and epigenisis of a poem or work of art? How does the poet read and interact with her environment, or semiosphere, in order to translate emotions, memories, sounds, smells, disconnected images, into the phonemes, syllables, words, lines and stanzas of a poem that resonates with the reader/listener. By what mechanisms does a poem or artwork evoke emotional or physiological response? Of course molecules, organisms and animals (human and non-human) communicate in and with the environment. We hear them. We are constantly on the lookout for signs. The genesis of art, poetry and biological process involves multiple pathways and signals—which involves both an element of chance and of choice—a psychic/philosophic twinning and echoing. Synchronicity.


  • Publication: Apr 2013
  • ISBN: 978-1-927380-44-4
  • Pages: 96 pp
  • Size: 5.5 x 7.5 inches

Mari-Lou Rowley has published eight previous collections of poetry, most recently Suicide Psalms (Anvil Press), which was shortlisted for a Saskatchewan Book Award, and Transforium (JackPine Press) in collaboration with visual artist Tammy Lu. Her work has appeared internationally in literary, arts, and science-related journals including the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics and Aesthetica magazine’s Creative Works Competition anthology. Unus Mundus was awarded second prize in the 2012 John V. Hicks Long Manuscript Award. She is currently pursuing an interdisciplinary PhD at the University of Saskatchewan in new media, neuroplasticity, and empathy.

Books by Mari-Lou Rowley