Rebecca Elson’s A Responsibility to Awe reissued as a Carcanet Classic. A Responsibility to Awe is a contemporary classic, a book of poems and reflections by a scientist for whom poetry was a necessary aspect of research, crucial to understanding the world and her place in it, even as, having contracted terminal cancer, she confronted her early death. Rebecca Elson was an astronomer; her work took her to the boundary of the visible and measurable. `Facts are only as interesting as the possibilities they open up to the imagination,’ she wrote. Her poems, like her researches, build imaginative inferences and speculations, setting out from observation, undeterred by knowing how little we can know.
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