Part family history, part scientific exploration, Elementary Particles examines the world through the lens of a daughter grieving the loss of her beloved father.
Through keen, quiet observation, Sneha Madhavan-Reese's evocative new collection takes us from the wide expanse of rural India to the minute map of Michigan we carry on the palms of our hands. These poems contemplate ancestral language, the wonder and uncertainty of scientific discovery, the resilience of a dung beetle, the fleeting existence of frost flowers on the Arctic Ocean.
The collection is full of familiar characters, from Rosa Parks to Seamus Heaney to Corporal Nathan Cirillo, anchoring it in specific moments in time and place, but has the universality that comes from exploring the complex relationship between a child and her immigrant parents, and in turn, a mother and her children. Elementary Particles examines the building blocks of a life — the personal, family, and planetary histories, transformations, and losses we all experience.
About the author
Sneha Madhavan-Reese was a finalist for The Malahat Review's Far Horizons Award for Poetry. Observing the Moon, was a finalist for the 2013 Alfred G. Bailey prize. She holds engineering degrees from MIT and the University of Michigan. She lives in Ottawa with her husband and their two daughters.
"I love it when a poet has a scientific mind. Writers like Sneha expand my vocabulary and my understanding of the hidden chemistry of the world. When she turns her gaze to her father and his passing, the word-by-word precision remains, but the poems are so generous, so touching, they nourish the spirit and heart." — Lorna Crozier
"Sneha Madhavan-Reese's beautiful poems are much like the frost flowers she contemplates — delicate, crystalline formations that bloom on calm seas. While their synthesis requires precise conditions, they are magically born of imperfection; though small enough to hold in the mouth, each contains an abundance. In Elementary Particles, the languages of poetry, math and science coalesce with singular grace, and everyday matter is a source of wonder." — Jenny Haysom