Note from the author
exploring the project


Leave a comment
About the author
Make a contribution
Legal note on copyrightHome.htmlNote_from_the_author.htmlExploring_the_project.htmlIntroduction.htmlContents.htmlSEQUENCE_ONE.htmlSEQUENCE_TWO.htmlSEQUENCE_THREE.htmlSEQUENCE_FOUR.htmlComment.htmlAbout.htmlContribute.htmlCopyright.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3shapeimage_1_link_4shapeimage_1_link_5shapeimage_1_link_6shapeimage_1_link_7shapeimage_1_link_8shapeimage_1_link_9shapeimage_1_link_10shapeimage_1_link_11shapeimage_1_link_12shapeimage_1_link_13

‘We're living in a time of extraordinary intellectual ferment, all centred round the great breakthroughs in science, both in physics and biology. The last time this happened so riotously, it provoked a great poetic reaction - Coleridge, Shelley and later Tennyson - yet this time, the response has been muted, small scale and more cautious. Where we have had poetry, and indeed drama and even opera, it has tended to focus on physics. Now Gillian Ferguson, with huge ambition, skill and daring, has showed what epic poetry can still do when confronted by the age of the genome, that universal four letter poem which beats any human achievement many million-fold. These are gorgeous, sinewy and darting poems, uncurling with great confidence and provide an excellent partner for the great prose writing of recent years, by E.O. Wilson, Dawkins, Matt Ridley, Daniel Dennett and many more.’ Andrew Marr, Writer and Broadcaster

‘These discussions are a really useful solvent, designed to melt away two very troublesome barriers - the barrier which, for many of us, shuts off Science from the rest of life, especially from poetry, and the still stiffer protective cordon that has been set up to divide our species from the rest of nature. By exploring the rich imaginative flora that surrounds the idea of the Human Genome, Gillian Ferguson bypasses both these and opens a fine range of pathways through new and unsuspected territories. Good luck to her and to her fellow-travellers!’ Mary Midgley, Philosopher, and Author of 'Science and Poetry'

‘This project is truly awesome. A numinous tapestry of poems, quotes, and profound musings on life, science, God, and the genome…Thanks for the gift you are giving the world.’ Francis Collins, Head, United States Human Genome Project

‘Perhaps the most compelling fact surrounding the new science of the human genome is that letters, words - language itself -  offer the clearest media through which both the scientific and the lay mind can begin to apprehend the inner secret of life. In making this the central metaphor of her extraordinary work,  The Human Genome: Poems on the Book of Life, Gillian Ferguson takes poetry to extremes it has not encountered since the late work of Hugh MacDiarmid, or the ongoing work of Edwin Morgan.  Her achievement brings art and science together in a challenging and exhilarating way. Vast ambition and its triumphant achievement.’ Richard Holloway, Chairman, Scottish Arts Council

‘The reading of the human genome was a great moment in the history of life - the first time in four billion years that a creature has read its own recipe. It deserves to be hymned by poets, and Gillian Ferguson may be its Homer.’ Matt Ridley, Science Correspondent, The Economist, Daily Telegraph; Author, Genome; The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters, Fourth Estate

‘A vast celebration of the human genome, and all genomes - and a passionate declaration of the unity of life as revealed by comparative genomics.  And of the importance of sharing everything freely. I hope she continues to evolve in her writings, and finds new wonders wherever her exploration takes her.’ Sir John Sulston, Leader, UK Human Genome Project

‘Any attempt to explore connections between scientific, artistic, and religious imagination is to be enthusiastically welcomed, for it is through multi-dimensional productive imagination that we discover the meaning of our world and ourselves. The Human Genome Poetry Project is to be applauded – it succeeds in bravely harmonising discourses and insights that are so often deemed to be at variance.’ John Cornwell, Director, Science and Human Dimension Project, Jesus College, Cambridge University