Thursday, November 8, 2012


Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Ed (of March Madness fame!) for Roundup at Think Kid Think!

Me? I'm in Frankfort, Kentucky, getting ready for Children's Day at Kentucky Book Fair, but I wanted to share with you a super-cool poetic thing that happened a couple of weeks ago:

Librarian-extraordinaire Jennifer Butler Keeton of Florence-Lauderdale Public Library invited me to participate in a Poetry & Paint event.

Here's how it worked: attendees, for a fee, were provided with canvas and paints and some initial "inspiration" poems (penned by me!). Then, at the event, I read some poetry along with the talented Boxcar Voices  -- while the attendees created their masterpieces!

Here's a picture of a painting the lovely and enthusiastic Angela did for my poem "At Age Ninety My Grandfather No Longer Gardens" :

Someone was feeling saucy! Love it!! She also painted two others, one of which I told her I HAD to own, it is so freakin' gorgeous and in keeping with my own ideas about the poem. Will share when I have it in hand.

And then there was this one, which surprised me in the best way possible:

What surprised me was that THIS was a poem of mine that would inspire art. But it did! For Stephanie, it did. And isn't that what it's all about?

Here's the poem:

Einstein's Daughter Questions Her Father's Theory

It's all about timing, he says,
She watches the circling second-hand
as it marks all the moments he's missed,

says, space-time is a lump of clay
whose geometry can be changed
by the gravity of stars and planets.

And I am neither clay nor star nor planet.

It was best for you, he says.
Her jaw tightens, fists clench.
I am not a spinning orb, she says.

Must you strap the fabric
of the universe to my back,
demand that I drag it behind me?

It must be proven, he says.

She shakes her head. It's as real
as a wobbling spiral of gas 
that disappears into a black hole.

It changes nothing, he says. And she
climbs back inside her super-
luminal tunnel, leaves him to his work.

- Irene Latham

For those of you who don't know, in addition to his two sons, Einstein had a daughter. Trouble was, she was born to he and Mileva before they got married. Oh, the scandal! So, the couple opted to give this daughter away. (This was not discovered until after Einstein's death, and there is still some mystery as to what exactly happened to her.) I wrote the poem in an effort to give this abandoned daughter a voice. It appears in my book THE COLOR OF LOST ROOMS.

Thanks so much for reading!


  1. Wow -- interesting that he had a daughter who was given away. Wonderful poem, Irene. But then, you know I love the whole collection :).

  2. You had me at the title... and then didn't let me go. Thanks for sharing... and I'm not surprised your verse inspired art!

  3. What an intriguing premise...and your poem does her justice! Really enjoyed this, Irene.

  4. I absolutely love the idea to combine poems with paintings. And I love "Must you strap the fabric of the universe to my back."

  5. I have shared this poem with our science teachers, Irene, since I received and read the anthology. It's so beautiful, & the art is marvelous too. Wonderful.

  6. What a fabulous event that must have been. I love the "Grandmother" painting - what a hoot(er)! Your Einstein poem is just fascinating and poignant and all kinds of wonderful. Wow.

  7. Wow! Jennifer Butler Keeton sounds like a great event organizer.

    I wrote about Einstein's daughter, but I've never read a poem about her! Love it!

  8. Wonderful post, Irene! What an amazing and fun event that must have been. Thanks for sharing. And for sharing this poem from your terrific anthology. :0)

  9. Fascinating. I did not know about this daughter, Irene. But you have given her a voice through this marvelous poem.

  10. Looking forward to meeting you at NCTE so I can thank you IN PERSON for my ode!


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