3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Darwin: A Life in Poems (Hardcover)
The Darwins are a talented bunch. When not engaged in the production of distinguished scientists, they do a not half bad job of turning out gifted wordsmiths. At the last count there were at least four Darwinian poets*, whilst, in the prose section, the great Charles penned the odd best seller. No surprise, then, that Ruth Padel, a direct descendent of Charles Darwin, has produced a collection of new poems themed around the life of her famous forebear.
"Darwin - A Life in Poems" aims explore the emotional dimension of Darwin's life. It begins with his boyhood and the start of his passion for collecting (vividly imagined in "The Miser") and follows him through his travels, family life and intellectual journey.
A line from "Giant Bugs of the Pampas", which describes the great naturalist being infected with the bacteria that probably caused his lifelong bouts of illness, gives a feel for the crispness of Padel's poetry. The bacteria (a life form unknown to Darwin) are, she says
"... life-forms occult as Kabbalah or that other secret scripture DNA: ..."
Anyone who has spent this anniversary year immersing themselves in all things Darwinian should add "Darwin - A Life in Poems" to their reading list. This is a fascinating and eminently readable collection which should appeal to a wide audience, including people who don't normally indulge in modern poetry.
* Other Darwin family poets are:
- Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802)
- Frances Cornford (1886-1960)
- John Cornford (1915-1936)