Rooted in traditional Japanese aesthetics and meditations on contemporary neuroscience, a stunning new volume from an essential American poet.
Acclaimed as "one of the most fascinating female poets of our time" (BOMB), Kimiko Hahn is a shape-shifter, a poet who seeks novel forms for her utterly original subject matter and "stands as a welcome voice of experimentation and passion" (Bloomsbury Review). In Brain Fever, Hahn integrates the recent findings of science, ancient Japanese aesthetics, and observations from her life as a woman, wife, mother, daughter, and artist.
Rooted in meditations on contemporary neuroscience, Brain Fever takes as its subject the mysteries of the human mind—the nature of dreams and memories, the possibly illusory nature of linear time, the complexity of conveying love to a child. In one poem, "A Bowl of Spaghetti," she cites a comparison that researchers draw between unraveling "the millions of miles of wires in the [human] brain" and "untangling a bowl of spaghetti," and thus she untangles a memory of her own: "I have an old photo: Rei in her high chair intently / picking out each strand to mash in her mouth. // Was she two? Was that sailor dress from mother? / Did I cook that sauce from scratch? If so, there was a carrot in the pot."
Equally inspired by Sei Shonagon's tenth-century Pillow Book and the latest findings of cognitive research, Brain Fever is a thrilling blend of the timely and the timeless.