Silk Poems
Poetry | $15.95
paperback, 200 pages, 5 x 7 in
Publication Date: forthcoming
ISBN: 978-1-937-65872-4

Silk is compatible with body tissues; our immune system accepts it on surfaces as sensitive as the human brain. In conjunction with Tufts University’s cutting edge research on liquefied silk, Jen Bervin mixes poetry with medical technology in the form of a silk bio-sensor. Silk Poems explores the cultural, scientific, and linguistic complexities of silk written nanoscale inside the body. 

Bervin’s poem stems from the belief that reading such a sensor inside the body is not a neutral context, rather one pre-inscribed with concern, written in a material with a 5,000 year old international history. In her research, Bervin consulted over thirty international bioengineering labs, textile archives, medical libraries, and sericulture sites in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Silk Poems premiered at MASS MoCA in the yearlong exhibition Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder and is supported by a grant from Creative Capital.

Silk Poems seem to unspool magically from ancient burial practice and philosophy into the future of emerging nanotechnology. This beautiful multi-disciplinary text becomes a meditation on desire and embodiment, on cultural and personal transformation, on the genetic coding of language and the enduring connection of poetic practice to other forms of making.  —Elizabeth Willis

Two filaments of silk combine to form a single thread. In poems of delicate beauty Bervin inventories multiple strands of a 5,000-year legacy spun from the carapace of a silkworm. To read is to inhabit the continuous reeling of an ancient insect / human tale and to emerge forever changed.  —Ann Hamilton

Read Jen Bervin's fascinating Silk Poems one hundred times and you will be given one hundred gifts. A first reading draws the mother silkworm as a metaphor for creativity and resilience. Another reading reveals an elegant letter to Infinity. This sensational book addresses both the past and the future; art and science; the earth and the stars. Everywhere Silk Poems is in incomparable conversation with us.  —Terrance Hayes

“She makes connections between things that most of us would leave unconnected. Her artistry is vast and inclusive, by finesse and intelligence, by curiosity, wonder, forbearance, and vision.” —Mary Ruefle