*UPDATE: an excerpt of Nancy’s second manuscript “Wider Than the Sky” was selected as the winner of the Poetry Society of America Robert H. Winner Award in March. Congratulations, Nancy!!!
Dot Product: The Cross Between Particle Theory and Pointillism
Because of the formatting, please use this link to access the poem: https://indianahumanities.org/dot-product-cross-particle-theory-pointillism
Nancy Chen Long:
Currently, one of my favorite poems is “Dot Product: The Cross Between Particle Theory and Pointillism,” which is in my book Light into Bodies. “Dot Product” was the first of my poems to be accepted for publication. Lisa Mangini had just launched her publication Paper Nautilus in 2011, and she accepted the poem for publication in the inaugural issue.
Like lots of other folks, I tend to have obsessions. One of them is a fascination with dots or particles. This poem is a favorite is because it integrates poetry with other treasured things: math (dot product), science (particle theory), and art (pointillism and Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.) And it does all of this in house of my obsession dots(!) What could be better?
Another, and primary, reason “Dot Product” is special to me is because it’s one of those rare poems that arrived almost fully intact, beginning with the title, which is unlike my normal modus operandi. I usually need to revise a poem an untold number of times before it’s ready to see the light of day. But on handful of occasions, the muse has been wonderfully generous, and a poem arrives that writes itself. I just happen to be the one who’s holding the pen. This poem was one of those times.
Bio: Nancy Chen Long is the author of Light into Bodies (University of Tampa Press, 2017), winner of the Tampa Review Poetry Prize. She is the grateful recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing fellowship, a writer residency at Ox-Bow School of the Arts, and a scholarship at the Provincetown Fine Arts Center. Her work has been published in The Southern Review, The Adroit Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Ninth Letter, Alaska Quarterly Review, Pleiades, and elsewhere. She works at Indiana University in the Research Technologies division.