Discovering Astronomy Through Poetry

Adapted from an announcement in Silver Pen newsletter:

Professor John C. Mannone has been requested to speak in the Special Session “Astronomy Unexpected! Innovative Strategies for Reaching Non-Traditional Students” at the 218th American Astronomical Society Meeting to be held 22-26 May 2011 in Boston, MA. The special panel will be chaired by astronomer, Noreen Grice, who is noted for her astronomy books in Braille. Grice contacted Mannone after learning how he uses astronomy-related poetry in outreach and in the classroom.

The abstract for the presentation to the Society is called “Discovering Astronomy Through Poetry.” [Cited from the American Astronomical Society, AAS Meeting #218, #116.02; Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, Vol. 43, 2011]:

The literature is replete with astronomical references. And much of that literature is poetry. Using this fact, not only can the teacher infuse a new appreciation of astronomy, but also, the student has the opportunity to rediscover history through astronomy. Poetry can be an effective icebreaker in the introduction of new topics in physics and astronomy, as well as a point of conclusion to a lecture. This presentation will give examples of these things from the ancient literature (sacred Hebraic texts), classical literature (Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey), traditional poetry (Longfellow, Tennyson and Poe) and modern literature (Frost, Kooser, and others, including the contemporary work of this author).

This has paved the way for solicited articles on the subject, which I will tell you more about later in the Fall 2011.


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