Cartographies of Scale and Wing by Anna Vlasopolos
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Cartographies of Scale (and Wing) is a meditation on map-making and on migration. We humans draw imaginary lines to segment the globe for our purposes as if it were vacant land, forgetting or unaware of the living lines of migration; these traverse the globe seasonally, or, on occasion, through mass movements, human and non-human. The poet pays homage to two scientists, Gerardus Mercator and Nathaniel Bowditch, whose work was enormously useful for safer navigation and more accurate cartography, but unwittingly helped lead to conquest, decimation, and in some cases extinction of native habitats, peoples, and non-human life. These poems celebrate life that often passes unnoticed (intertidal creatures, migrating and common birds, amphibians, reptiles, non-charismatic mammals, and disregarded humans), advocate for its worth, habitats, and right to existence.
Anca Vlasopolos has a researcher s gaze and a birdwatcher s ear as she takes up navigation as a theme in Cartographies of Scale (and Wing). She describes early mapmakers trying to get hold of the world s vastness while animals find their way by a mysterious instinct, a world we have no eyes for. Her poems are sure-handed, but she makes way for uncertainty: we see this mortal world / for one cosmic particle of time. --Ellen Foos, publisher of Ragged Sky Press, books editor at Princeton University Pres