The New World

Peculiar notes with approval a new edition of Frederick Turner’s first (!) epic, The New World, which takes place in a not too distant future. Nice cover too.

Fred is one of the too-little- known wonders of our time. The breadth of his erudition and what he takes on for poetic subject matter (evolution, terraforming Mars– all in meter of course) exceeds that of anyone I know. Channeling Darwin here, from New World (emphasis mine):

We are the holy and dangerous beast who dared
to domesticate not only our plant and animal servants,
but also ourselves: and not for usefulness only
but chiefly for beauty, the blazon of expressed shapeliness.

And so the heroic hang of the Great Dane,
the pretty baroque of the King Charles Spaniel,
the deathlike elegance of the Siamese cat, the fire
of the fighting- fish, bulbous flash of the koi, pout
and delicate feather of pigeon and dove that Darwin
admired, crimson petals of rose and peony,
are only attendants on the sovereign differences given
to this clan of mutated monkeys, to itself by itself.

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