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The Poetic Species: A Conversation with Edward O. Wilson and Robert Hass

The Poetic Species: A Conversation with Edward O. Wilson and Robert Hass - Edward O. Wilson, Robert Hass, Lee Briccetti I received this book through the goodreads giveaway program.

This is a beautiful little book, worth reading and re-reading. It suspends these ideas, evolutionary poetry and poetic evolution, in time and holds them up for reflection. The central idea to the first half of the conversation is the conflict between our tendency to preserve our individual selves vs. our groups (altruism, but Edwards says this is just selfishness with a bigger self), and how that conflict is both in our biology as well as arts and humanities.

The conversation branches out from there, and covers conservation, etc. Wilson always is a little smarmy when discussing his own professional trials and tribulations, and he somehow doesn't notice that the goal is not to discuss his own biography. But I thought the insights from Hass and yes, also from Wilson were truly inspiring. And I combed forward and backward and forward again through the text, cherishing it.

It's just a beautiful, small meditation on the intersection between our poetry and our science. The introduction had one comparison that I thought surprising but apt: both science and poetry are things that most people are afraid of, but enjoy if they can be tricked into doing them. Here's hoping for more trickery in the future.