Flux Lines by John C. Mannone

Reviews

There are two constants in the poetry of John Mannone: love and science… And they are intertwined--his poems flow effortlessly between poles of desire and precious, precise knowledge. In the world of poetry there is no one who can mine science for metaphor the way Mannone does. Nor move to love so naturally.
--Roald Hoffmann, chemist and writer, professor emeritus at Cornell University and co-recipient of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry


John Mannone’s Flux Lines offers a lyrical melding of worlds: love, science, sensuality, geography, heart, astronomy, and wit. The poet knows his science, and knows how to cut a line in a heartbreaking rhythm. Love is the unifying force here, dynamic movement is a constant. The poet is equally at home in mystery and in certainty, in wonder and in the swing of late fall vines or his lover’s hair. A magical volume, this is one that readers will return to for song and hope, for sustenance.
--Marilyn Kallet, author of How Our Bodies Learned, Black Widow Press and the 2018 Knoxville Poet Laureate


“We make our own galaxy," John C. Mannone says, and at the center of Flux Lines, his big and rueful heart “supernovas" in its attempts to reveal moons, stardust, magnetic fields, dunes, the irises of eyes, eclipses, and all the ways in which our lives--if not our words--"orbit" one another. Mannone brings a science-minded curiosity and exuberance to his poems, a gravitational pull toward love, a “swirl of intoxication," if not a profound desire to peer down into the “core/structure" of words, thoughts, and emotions. “Who can tell/one sparrow from another/when they fall?" he asks, yet he, too, is falling-through space, through time, through the intricate and multiple universes which love has formed of his heart.
--Jeff Hardin, author of 5 full collections, including Restoring the Narrative (Donald Justice Poetry Prize) and No Other Kind of World (X. J. Kennedy Prize)


Poet-physicist John Mannone expands the vocabulary of love to include science--and both love and science are better for it. Look at how he captures sights and happenings. From "When the Comet Dust Settles": “ . . . each time a meteor firefly'd the night. From “Tramontane,": “Your thunderous voice, wet with rain, monsoons me . . ." In "The Weatherman Said It Might Rain," as human relations and the sky point toward a tornado, he writes: "I can hear distant rumblings of a locomotive wind." In "Thermodynamics," in describing the end of a relationship, he says: "Refrigerators don't make the cold, they remove the heat." Read these lines, read these poems aloud. They are accurately said. They are differently said. Best of all in poetry, they are well said.
--Mark Littmann, Professor, Hill Chair of Excellence in Science Writing at the University of Tennessee Knoxville and author of Totality: The Great American Eclipses of 2017 and 2024 and 5 other astronomy books and 36 planetarium shows

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