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Silk Poems

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  106 ratings  ·  22 reviews
In conjunction with Tufts University's Silk Lab's cutting-edge research on liquified silk, Jen Bervin wrote a poem composed in a six-character chain that corresponds to the DNA structure of silk; modeled on the way a silkworm applies filament to its cocoon. This poem, written from the perspective of the silkworm, explores the cultural, scientific, and linguistic complexiti ...more
Paperback, 182 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by Nightboat Books
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  106 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Laura Peña
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reading GoT is throwing a major wrench in my reading challenge goals, so I am raiding Kai's bookshelf for things I can read quickly while I slog thru GoT. I am really bad at reading poetry, as in I don't understand what enjoyment or what I am supposed to get out of reading it. I'm not sure how to rate or review this because I don't have a mental scale to weigh it against and I have no idea how to tell what is good poetry vs bad. I am rating this pretty high tho, because I had a good time reading ...more
3.5 stars. There were a lot of cleverly constructed things about this book - the delicate nature of the paper, the way the words crowd together and force you to be present while you read each page, and even little things like the page markers. I really liked the experience of reading this book and hope everyone who reads it does so with a physical copy (not e-reader).
Colleen Jenkins
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved the way this book was written. It really made me slow down and take in every word.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've long admired Jen Bervin. She's the kind of artist who pushes my sense of what's possible in writing into new territories, and when entering one of her books, I know I must be prepared to surrender to multiple readings, to discovery and astonishment.

Silk Poems takes up the long relationship between humans and silkworms in textiles, in language, and recently, in bioengineering. Bervin writes from the perspective of the silkworm, and in doing so, she anthropomorphizes, yes, but she also specul
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
The poem(s?) itself did not really do it for me, which is a matter of such personal preference that I can't hold it against the writer. The concept is fascinating. When Jen Bervin discovered that researchers were using liquid silk to create biosensors that could be placed inside the body to, for instance, monitor glucose levels, she wanted to create a poem that could be written in the silk as a kind of talisman to protect the people involved. (They were previously using a clip art image as the f ...more
Cooper Renner
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the finest books of poetry I’ve read in years. It’s a beautiful object, printed on “bible” paper with the text in all caps and no spacing between words, though the lines are short, so that “deciphering” the breaks between words is easier than deciding where sentences and phrases end and begin in Merwin’s unpunctuated poems. The lack of spacing creates alternate words, which one realizes aren’t the right ones, but which reverberate anyway. The left-hand pages are numbered, but on the lower ...more
Connie P
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There is something magical about the crowding of space, about the incorporation of bioengineering and the history of silk that brings a concept of precariousness to the forefront of the mind. While seeing life through the perspective of a silkworm, the poems confront the temporalities silk inhabits and questions the mortality of a being and language. It’s brilliant.
judy-b. judy-b.
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Intellectually rigorous, yet also quirky and playful, a brilliant work—especially the original, which was printed in 6-letter lines, DNA style, at nano scale, on an implantable biosensor made of liquefied silk—it bears many re-reads.
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fall-2020
“thisflyinggarment/forthesoul/ivedrawn/infinity/into/it” || Jen Bervin’s “silk poems” is something profoundly special. ||

Mary Ruefle said it better than I could: “I feel privileged to have been alive on earth while she was doing it.”

Steven Felicelli
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.75 stars - maintains thread with material and mode which make it difficult to do so - loved this book
Exequelle Cuvos
Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was tolerable at best; a nuisance if anything.
Kest Schwartzman
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The object is beautiful. So are the words.
Juli Anna
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
A unique intersection of topics, deftly interwoven.
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
4.5 // i loved this book. i already want to read it again!!!

more research based art & poetry pls......
Jan 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
A beautiful and interesting book of intertwined silk worm and human history, drawing in biotechnology and spinning contemplation in short bursts of life and death through fragmentary poetics.
Aubrey King
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh god, you know it's good when you're so jealous the whole time. Beautiful little book, documentary engagement, attention to material poetics, silkworms... what more do you need. ...more
Opeyemi Olagunju
Mar 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
so cool, want to reread when im less tormented by school so i can actually enjoy it
Mar 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Just the loveliest little book.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
absolutely incredible
Janel Brubaker
Mar 19, 2021 rated it liked it
This was a beautifully quick book of poetry. The poems themselves were very short, and the book was barely more than 100 pages, so it made reading this book somewhat of a breeze. I'm always fascinated by poets whose poems take up only a few short lines. I'm more of a verbose poet myself, and so I like to study those poems that say in only a few lines what it might take me several stanzas to say. Just that experience alone made this book interesting to read.

In terms of form, I was also captured.
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Jun 14, 2018
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Feb 07, 2018
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Jan 23, 2018
Camilla Watson
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Mar 11, 2021
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Simon Baastrup
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Poet and visual artist Jen Bervin's work brings together text and textile in a practice that encompasses poetry, archival research, artist books, and large-scale art works. Her poetry/artist books include The Dickinson Composites (Granary Books 2010), The Silver Book (Ugly Duckling Presse 2010), The Desert (Granary 2008), A Non- Breaking Space (UDP 2005), The Red Box (2004), and Nets (UDP 2004). S ...more

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