In his first full-length poetry collection, Natural Philosophies, Michael J. Leach grasps for truth and solace by embracing interdisciplinary perspectives and multiple meanings. The poems in this collection address the archaic term ‘natural philosophy’—the philosophical study of nature and the Universe—in past, present, and future contexts through the lenses of various natural science disciplines, including botany, zoology, astronomy, chemistry, and medicine. Michael explores a range of urgent personal and public issues, from climate change, extinction, and post-truth logic to COVID-19, chronic diseases and death, all the while pinpointing much-needed beauty across physical, emotional, and spiritual domains of existence.
‘This is an innovative and sculptural poetics of dwelling in space-time, informed by astronomical, biological, and health sciences, and fine-tuned to the imperatives of moral philosophy: care for Earth, self-worth, and goodwill. Born in lifeblood and consciousness of the cosmos, this collection will leave your eyes glittering like distant suns.’
‘In Natural Philosophies, science is used in elegant and surprising ways to explore the Universe, the planet we live on, the times we live in, and human life, replete as it is with loss, and grief, and love. Readers with a background in science will relish the skilful use of scientific language and metaphors, but those without will also enjoy these eloquent, moving, and playful poems.’
‘Michael J. Leach’s Natural Philosophies features a pioneering array of poetry drawing on interdisciplinary perspectives, including personal narrative, philosophy, science, environmental ethics, experimental linguistics and visual aesthetics. Via a scaffolding of scientific jargon, medical acronyms, mathematical symbols and binomial nomenclature, heartfelt testaments express personal mourning as well as wider concern for the plight of land and living beings. Language spills, ascends, scatters and solidifies around themes of birth, death, grief, love, dislocation and belonging. Like its predecessor, Leach’s chapbook Chronicity (Melbourne Poets Union, 2020), this full-length poetry collection celebrates the calligram as an innovative means of multi-faceted communication. It is excellently presented by Recent Work Press.’
Read a review of Natural Philosophies in Quill and Parchment here.