The Robot Scientist’s Daughter
Social consciousness and poetry often cross paths, but rarely do you see science and poetry crossing paths (at least, outside the occasional copy of Asimov’s). The poetry of Jeannine Hall Gailey encompasses all three, as her unique background and scientific acumen fuses with a fierce sense of social consciousness and a gift for poetic rhythms and imagery to craft works both optimistic and starkly honest.
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter collects numerous poems by Gailey, many of which share the story of her life downwind of the Oak Ridge National Laboratories, a facility steeped in nuclear technology development and lackluster safety protocols. Her work grapples with both a strongly conflicted relationship with her scientist father and the fallout (no pun intended) of Oak Ridge’s debilitating effect on herself and those in her town. There is great beauty in her recollections of cesium-fueled foxfire and innocuous memories that seem sinister when the context of the modern day is applied. And although there is some visual and thematic retreading throughout the book, for the most part, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter is a treasure trove of insight and personal reflection.
Jeannine Hall Gailey