Friday, 6 August 2010

Genomics Forum Poetry Competition

Last year, as part of my writer-in-residency activities, I ran a short story competition to encourage writers to be inspired by genetics and genomics. As a result we received some fantastic stories, and so this year I’m repeating the exercise – for poets. The theme of the competition is ‘improving the human’. How does an increased knowledge of genetics change our understanding of humanity and experiences of being human?

We’re running the competition in partnership with the Scottish Poetry Library, who will organise an evening of readings of the best poems later on this year.

See here for more details of the competition.

This was partly triggered by Ken MacLeod’s (other writer in residence at the Forum) Human Genre Project, a site which publishes short stories and poems inspired by genetics.

One of my favourite poets who frequently uses scientific imagery is Jo Shapcott. Here’s an interview with her where she discusses the interaction between poetry and science. But I don’t agree with her view that the interaction between poets and scientists mainly goes one way in that poets learn from scientists. She actually subverts this later in the interview by pointing out that scientists need metaphors and analogy to make descriptions of their discoveries and theories.