Presented by Dr. Marjorie Wonham, Quest Life Sciences Tutor (Biology) –

Marine Biology and Metaphor in Neruda’s Maremoto
(Or: What happens when biologists dissect poems.)

Nearly fifty years ago Chile’s most famous poet, Pablo Neruda, co-produced Maremoto, a small volume of short poems that celebrate species of the sea. The poems were inspired by a series of woodcuts made by a friend, Swedish artist Karin Oldfelt Hjertonsson, who lived in Chile at the time. The images and poems are striking in their biological accuracy, capturing the morphology, physiology, biomechanics, behaviour, and ecology, as well as the culinary merits, of the central coast biota.

In collaboration with the original artist, we explore these illustrations and poems from a biological perspective, with the benefit of the last half century of scientific and fisheries research at our disposal. In doing so, we paint biological portraits to accompany the visual and poetic ones, and discover the ways in which contemporary scientific knowledge allows a deeper understanding and appreciation of this artistic collaboration.

The event takes place in the Multi-Purpose Room of the Services Building.

About Dr. Wonham
Marjorie Wonham is a Life Sciences tutor at Quest. Her primary interests are in marine zoology (particularly invertebrates) and ecology (particularly biological invasions). She is also interested in pedagogy (science and outdoor education) and, of late, art and poetry featuring the animal world. In this talk, she presents work from an interdisciplinary and international collaboration with colleagues in Chile and Sweden, at the intersection of marine biology, art, and poetry.

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