I had another illustrated poem on polaroid film to post this week, but it didn’t feel right. There are no other words that matter for this day; there is no doodle, no collage that could ever go with them; it is the grief, the pain, spreading across the world.
On November 28, 2015 Dr. Amir D. Aczel, acclaimed mathematician and bestselling author of more than a dozen books on science and math, passed away unexpectedly. I have read two of his books, Why Science Does Not Disprove God and Finding Zero, and I would heartily recommend both books. Dr. Aczel had a very rare skill: he had the ability to translate complex and abstract scientific ideas into engaging and accessible stories for a general audience. The world needs scientists like Dr. Aczel – willing and able to make science available to everyone – more than ever.
Not only that, but Dr. Aczel was a kind and thoughtful person who took the time to personally respond to fans and readers. And this is something I know firsthand. Over a year ago, only a few short months into my blogging adventure here on Illustrated Poetry, I wrote my first post about “found poetry.” In particular I was discussing the definition that had been advanced by the poet Ronald Gross: ‘”Found Poetry” typically preserves the words as they originally appear, but may rearrange them into lines to “bring out their poetic quality.”‘ I was in the middle of reading Why Science Does Not Disprove God by Dr. Aczel, and one passage in the book had struck me as found poetry and so I included this rearrangement and pairing of his words with one of my photographs:
Later that day, Dr. Aczel himself wrote a comment thanking me! I was so surprised and thrilled – I called my partner over to the computer and was shouting “Look, look, I can’t believe it – LOOK!” I was truly touched that he not only took the time to read that post on my tiny little blog floating out there in the vast ocean of the internet, but he also paused to write a kind note. It was incredibly encouraging and I have never forgotten it. Thank you again, Dr. Aczel. Feel free to head over here to read the full original post, “This Poetical Life.”
It is a gmish of illustrations and poetry today, the day before Halloween. The above doodle (pencil on paper) was fueled in part by the piles of halloween candy that keep appearing at work! It was inspired as a revisit to a poem that I featured on Illustrated Poetry back in April (remember, I can’t manage to plan posts around the relevant holidays!) – “Horror Movie” by Howard Moss. Definitely worth a read today or tomorrow! Also, if you would like an Alan-Cummings-sounding Scottish gentleman to read another scary poem to you – “The Twa Corbies” – I recommend my Halloween post from last year.
Meanwhile, I’ve been playing with adding Halloween words to the Poetry Generator. If you haven’t been introduced to the Poetry Generator, click here – you may or may not thank me, as it is quite addictive. It will make random poems for you based on either words you supply or a standard set. I’ll be tweeting out my Halloween generator poems today and tomorrow – they’ll appear in the Twitter sidebar here at IP or follow me on Twitter.