Dazzling in its descriptions of a natural world imperiled by the hidden dangers of our nuclear past, this book presents a girl in search of the secrets of survival. In The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, Jeannine Hall Gailey creates for us a world of radioactive wasps, cesium in the sunflowers, and robotic daughters. She conjures the intricate menace of the nuclear family and nuclear history, juxtaposing surreal cyborgs and mad scientists from fifties horror flicks with languid scenes of rural childhood. Mining her experience growing up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the writer allows the stories of the creation of the first atomic bomb, the unintended consequences of scientific discovery, and building nests for birds in the crooks of maple trees to weave together a reality at once terrifying and beautiful. The Robot Scientist’s Daughter reveals the underside of the Manhattan Project from a personal angle, and charts a woman’s – and America’s – journey towards reinvention.
What others are saying about The Robot Scientist’s Daughter:
The artificial light of radiation and the light of poetic artifice; the real memory of a childhood among inventions in a nuclear hot spot and the cybernetic hyper memories of fictional antiheroes and heroines; the elements, and the elements of style; the present day, the near future, and the futures that never were– you can find them all in these pellucid and memorable poems, in which Jeannine Hall Gailey becomes a storyteller, a creator, a rebel, an educator, and a heroine of her own. –Stephen Burt In The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, Jeannine Hall Gailey charts the dangerous secrets in family as well as a nuclear research facility. Her ecofeminist approach to the making of bombs, celebrates our fragile natural world. Full of flowers and computers, this riveting poetry captures the undeniable compromises and complexities of our times. –Denise Duhamel THE ROBOT SCIENTIST’s DAUGHTER gives us a magnificient voice who is at turns “happy with the apple blossoms,” and yet whip-smart enough to know “the beauties of voltmeter and oscilloscope.” But underneath the beautifully measured sheen and spark of these bright stanzas, is a human who opens up thrilling new worlds by also fearlessly inhabiting poems of sorrow, survival, and identity– one whose “tongue is alive with lasers and [whose] song attracts thousands.” –Aimee Nezhukumatathil “Like a game of chess, the making of bombs is delicate,” writes Jeannine Gailey, making poems that are both delicate and explosive. This book is a daring, inventive, virtuoso performance. Here, we meet Robot Scientist’s Daughter – a medical wonder – “she’s a soldier, a savior, a ship to bear prisoners into space.” In subtle, playful, courageous poems, we are witnessing a brilliant performance.” –Ilya Kaminsky
For some early reviews: Book Recommendations and Reviews A License to Quill Younger Than That Now About the Poet: Jeannine Hall Gailey recently served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She’s the author of four books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, and her latest, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, from Mayapple Press. Her work has been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review and Prairie Schooner. Available on Amazon:
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