The poems in Catastrophe Theories reflect an increasingly unstable, surreal, and catastrophic world. Written over the past decade, the poems in Mari-Lou Rowley’s oracular work capture the zeitgeist of the moment. A world where human folly and frailty compete with corpocracy and technological determinism against the stubborn magnificence of the natural world.
Yet, these poems are neither prescriptive nor hopeless. Exploring the lives and concepts of mathematicians such as Euclid, Hypatia, Alan Turing, and René Thom, along with dream imagery and her love of science and nature, Rowley toys with perception, fractures reality into kaleidoscopic visions, then brings the reader back to small, everyday moments of truth and joy. As her speaker says, “Rejoice or regret. You decide.”
“These poems are immaculate knots and bone spurs of thought. Rowley is a master at cracking open language to reveal the luminosity of the quantum realm. Whether conjuring ghosts, the delicacy of numbers, dark desires, or the magnitude of chaos, Rowley creates an aesthetic space where words linger like sparrow song on the day’s dust. This is a beautifully crafted and thoughtfully mapped journey to the lighthouse where Rowley reminds us that out of the hexagon, sweet honey flows.”
— Lillian Necakov, author of il virus
Catastrophe Theories bends the light of ordinary events through lenses of challenging scientific concepts, resulting in some profoundly elucidating insights. … [and] should not disappoint anyone interested in the fascinating connections between poetry and mathematics, and how intimately such things inform human nature.”
— Neil Querengesser, Canadian Literature
Eco-science poet and interdisciplinary scholar, Mari-Lou Rowley has published nine collections of poetry, most recently Unus Mundus (Anvil Press), which was nominated for three Saskatchewan Book Awards. Rowley’s poetry, essays and chapters have appeared internationally in literary, arts and science-related books and journals including Fractured Ecologies (Denmark), the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics (US) and Aesthetica magazine’s (UK) Creative Works Competition. Multimedia work includes the videopoem Prairie Surreal (The Goose). Rowley is currently Editor of Grain magazine. She lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where she is working on a poetic memoir and a novel.