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Geology Poetry

"Shall not geology, which is the first science in affording scope for the imagination, be brought into favor with the Muses, and afford themes for the Poet?"
—Edward Hitchcock, Jr., 1849

Poem on the 1653 New England Earthquake
A typical pre-scientific view of earthquakes as divine displeasure with earthly sin.

Charles Corry: Poetry and Other Musing
Corry, a geophysicist, writes, "Despite the barriers of communication inherent in age, gender, cultures, and location, I would hope that some of my words reach into your mind and touch you gently."

"Darwin's Moon"
Mitchell Metz mingles metaphors in Malaysia. From the About Poetry site.

Earth, Literally
A blog by Philip Allen, an English geologist, portrays geology in a literary way.

"The First Ten Million Millennia or So"
Geoscientist Don Anderson published this poem on the history of the universe in Physics Today in 1999. This PDF version, from the mantleplumes.org site, is far more lively and colorful.

"High-Grader from Hades"
Anita Westlake wrote this tongue-in-cheek look at the married rockhounding couple.

How to Make a Rock Pile
A set of counterintuitive instructions for this expressive act, by Susanna Varestus.

Lay of the Trilobite
May Kendall published this poem in 1887, envious of the simple prehistoric life.

Limestone Magazine
A quirky online poetry magazine from England assumes a karstic structure including sections called Humus, Clints, Grikes and Erratics.

"The Museum of Stones"
This poem by Carolyn Forché, published in the New Yorker in 2007, is an evocation of stones both actual and literary.

"The Myth of Solid Ground"
David Ulin's 1999 LA Weekly article on earthquake prediction is highly impressionistic, and the better for it. Now this article has been expanded into a whole book.

Ode to a Trilobite
Written by Timothy Conrad in 1840, this is thought to be the earliest poem about trilobites.

The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form
Hundreds of limericks define a world of geological terms on this crazy site, which comes in dirty and clean versions.

Richard Hayes Phillips
"I love the beauty of a karst / That others find so barren: / I love the pitted, rounded rocks / Etched with rillenkarren"

"The Plume Soliloquy"
Paul Maddock of the University of London wonders aloud how Hamlet would agonize over the conflicting theories of mantle geochemistry. Fun for graduate students and professors everywhere!

In which your Guide introduces a new sport played with earthquakes.

Greg Retallack
This University of Oregon geologist publishes poems as well as papers.

Romantic Natural History
Dickinson College's Ashton Nichols is tracing the tides that flowed between science and humanities in the Romantic era, the generations leading up to Darwin.

"The Romance of Geology in Russia"
Russian geologists, among other things, launched a poetry movement in the 1960s.

Song of a Geologist
"Hammers an' chisels an' a' " goes the chorus of this rousing lyric, penned in the mid-1800s by fossil hunter Robert Dick in guid Scots dialect.

"Spirit That Form'd This Scene"
Walt Whitman declares his allegiance to the rhythm and rhyme of rocks in a poem I find inexplicably moving.

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