Who needs food when there’s poetry for lunch? An interview with Iggy McGovern


Owen Marshall had looked forward to speaking with him. So had I. He was meant to participate in ‘Poetry for Lunch’, ‘A Tale of Two Cities: Belfast and Glasgow’ and ‘Survivor Poetry’.” But when the Press Christchurch Writers Festival was cancelled, Irish poet and physicist Iggy McGovern came to Christchurch anyway. No 7.1 could stop this super-poet!

“I do like Christchurch,” Iggy commented when I asked him if Christchurch has influenced his writing: 

…it’s just the right size — I had the ultimate pleasure of being recognised when I came into the library! South Island is the only Christchurch poem so far but the 2010 aftershocks are bound to ripple up sometime soon…

Iggy had planned to read from his poetry collection, The King of Suburbia alongside Owen Marshall, among others poets. But what is it like to be both a scientist (a synchroton radiation techniques specialist, to be exact) and a poet?

Certainly Iggy is not the first to combine the forces of science and poetry. Goethe may be the most famous example. There is also Czeck poet and immunologists Miroslav Holub. So, why does poetry and science coalesce in some individuals? What links these seemingly disparate fields? Iggy supports Holub’s idea that poetry and science are ultimately “…about the defense of Truth.”

Read my full interview with Iggy McGovern.

Science is always striving for the one meaning and is ruthless about excluding things that are unsubstantiated… Poetry on the other hand is always striving for different meanings.
Iggy McGovern

The physics of poetry: Iggy McGovern visits Christchurch

CoverWe’ve heard a lot from excited geophysicists lately, so if you’d like to hear from someone who might move your world in a more poetic way, head to Al’s Bar tomorrow night (Wednesday 15 September) to see Iggy McGovern.

The Irish poet and physicist decided to continue with his visit to Christchurch despite the cancellation of the Christchurch Writers Festival and will launch Safe house – his new collection – tomorrow night at 6pm at Al’s Bar on Dundas Street.

We’ll all take time to get fully back to normal – perhaps some poetry would help! And spare a thought for the organisers of this major literary event – a lot of time, effort and energy was expended to make this a truly memorable festival. At the moment they don’t even have an office to work from.

Go along and lift your literary spirits!