If scientific instruments and objects – the early twentieth-century cloud camera or Herschel’s “comet sweeper” telescope or Florence Nightingale’s diagram of hospital deaths or Freud’s couch – could have a dream life, the poems in Cloud Camera are an attempt to evoke it. The book inhabits an imagined, even a haunted, world of science and technology – there are poems that conjure anything from the first balloon flight made by a woman or the effect of experiments with laughing-gas, to how Braille was invented, when the first artificial plant hybrid was created and what the impact of static electricity on the human body looks like. The poetry both celebrates and laments the endless human curiosity to find out “what the terrestrial body can stand, / at what point the mind turns itself inside out”.
Lesley Saunders. Paperback, 210 x 135 mm, 80 pages, May 2012.