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.

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