Pocket. Horizon. Between the two, whole worlds are contained–the juxtaposition of the local and the global reminds us of the tenuous nature of boundaries. Limits exist to be superseded… and this has been the goal of the sciences since science began.
The object in the photograph at left is tiny. This little black disc set on three legs is a pocket horizon, used, once upon a time, for navigation of the globe. The volume that it graces is a collection of new poems, artwork, and an introduction inspired by museum collections–a different sort of circumlocution.
Pocket Horizon grew out of a workshop with Don Patterson who met with The Nevada Street Poets – Mick Delap (River Turning Tidal,) Lorraine Mariner (Furniture,) Sarah Westcott (Inklings), Malene Engelund, Kelley Swain (Darwin’s Microscope) and Dominic McLaughlin. Joined by guest poet and historian Richard Barnett (Medical London; Sick City; The Book of Gin,) this group explored the annuls of history to reflect on artifacts and objects from the Whipple Museum.
Museum, you say? Why a museum?
Museums of history, particularly medical history, offer us a unique chance to explore our humanity, our mortality, our story. The elusive promise of progress, the great desire of mankind to explore the unknown, to press further in the great beyond, to find new horizons, are all reflected here. The medical humanities–a broad umbrella, admittedly–finds a happy home in medical history museums, like the Whipple, or the Pocket Horizon poets‘ second venture, the Wellcome Collection.
These collaborations between art, poetry, and science are not so very unusual–in fact, they are entirely natural. The Dittrick Museum of Medical History will be hosting Lucy Ingles this spring, who will speak about the role of artists in anatomy labs. Where would we be without art before the advent of photography? And where would our knowledge of medicine be without story, without reflection, without yarn, and song, and poem? In recognition of this, the Dittrick Museum hopes to bring one of these contributors (Richard Barnett) to Cleveland as poet-in-residence. Science, Medicine, History, Poetry, Art: As I have said on many occasions, life is more interesting at the intersection.
I hope you’ll seek your own horizons–and allow me to suggest this new volume as a map and guide.
Join us for the Journey.