by Magdalena Ball
Repulsion Thrust tackles big subjects not often the fodder of poetry: quantum physics, astronomy, time travel, ecological destruction, and technological singularity, all viewed through the lens of the human condition. “This is a book of poetry for anyone who has been in love and knows what it is to live in the twenty-first century, but who is more than a little scared of what might happen if all the lights went out.
Take these poems seriously. They may just have some of the answers you require.” ~Catherine Edmunds
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A few reviews
“This debut full-length poetry collection by Australian poet Magdalena Ball is full of poetic thrust, propelling the reader through thought-provoking and beautifully crafted considerations of love, illness, identity, genetics, the environment, planet – and more! Indeed, the quality of the poetry is inherent even in a simple listing of some of the intriguing poem titles: pale club of wind, Silicone Womb, Rock Talking, Pie in the Sky, Heebeejeebees…” Sarah James
“Magdalena Ball’s first full-length poetry collection, Repulsion Thrust, launches the reader into a world of mathematics and quantum mechanics – but this is not science fiction. This is contemporary life, observed with a keen eye for charm, strangeness, the ups and downs of relationships, color charge, spin and mass. I am no scientist, but one can’t help but slip into the language of physics on reading these poems. Even the most reluctant math student will recognise the exponential functionality of this collection and will smile with glee as each scientific metaphor is used with ease and confidence. And they’ll realise why both Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking are mentioned in the acknowledgements…The collection ends with a wonderful portmanteau poem that manages to reference both Dr Who and Hamlet, along with Newton and Galileo, in a deceptively light-hearted exploration of the potentialities of science combined with the frailty of humanity. That makes it sound hard to read. It isn’t. And that’s the great joy of this collection. These poems flow. They never overdo the scientific language, so are never obscure. They’re always easy to read and always beguiling. This is a book of poetry for anyone who has been in love and knows what it is to live in the twenty-first century, but who is more than a little scared of what might happen if all the lights went out. Take these poems seriously. They may just have some of the answers you require.” Catherine Edmunds
“NGC4736, a.k.a. Messier 74, a spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici, becomes poetic in Magdalena Ball’s science-and-tech-themed collection of poems. Scientific phenomena NGC4736, black holes and ice tunnels, amygdala, and the quintessential example of existential uncertainty, Schrödinger’s cat, become metaphors for the most intimate human thoughts and feelings. After all the banal pseudopoetic cliches that clog modern poetry, this collection is refreshing. This collection is to much modern poetry what real science is to pseudo-scientific quackery.
To paraphrase one of Ball’s lines in “Equinox,” she slices great slabs of poetry from her tongue and pen. The buzzard light of dawn contrasts with the prophecy that in our digital age, the flick of a switch can doom us to literal and emotional darkness. Anyone who thinks science is cold should take a microscope to Ball’s universe in which electromagnetic radiation from emotional emissions creates a tiny scientific revolution. This collection of poems is enough to inspire creative writing majors to switch to astronomy and physics. Perhaps maybe not. But Ball’s verses will cause a paradigm shift.” Kristin Johnson
“This is a pretty amazing collection. While reading this I felt like a physicist, in love with the loneliness of passion and monotonous domesticity, on the set of a movie resembling both Bladerunner and some sort of Noir Romance. I recommend this for those who like to indulge in poetry that doesn’t make them feel like they need a degree to understand it. Although it is quite complex when you take a deeper look, the poems’ surface beauty is prominent and transports you into an entirely different world. I’ve read that these poems are about love. I can’t seem to grasp that notion. Yes, some do mention love, but not in the sense that you expect love to be spoken about, so I found myself wondering, “what the heck are they talking about?” These poems, to me, speak of a place in one’s soul many are hesitant to expose in a world that is primarily preoccupied with conforming to social expectations. And you’ll just have to read the collection to find out exactly what I mean by that. ;o)” Jessica Bell