I am reading The Philadelphia Inquirer on December 31. It says there will be one extra second at the moment of midnight. Time, which I thought was immutable, is apparently negotiable. This bothers me. I do research. England and France are arguing about the correct time and the earth encounters friction in the atmosphere. I find out that atomic clocks lift streams of atoms like fountains. I write "Leap Second."
Writing puts me on alert.
Ideas ambush me. I conduct left-brain research that floods me with new lenses and new language. I discover hidden connections, put disparate things in proximity, collide everyday moments with big ideas. I look for the layers and juxtapositions that take words from description to insight. I enter other disciplines—botany, physics—as an amateur, a tourist of thought. I poke around, learn the idiom and report back.
I write poems.
Beth Feldman Brandt began writing poems on March 18, 2004 at 4:00 am in a hotel in New York City. Since then, her work has explored such divergent themes as ocean habitats, atomic clocks, herbal remedies, the Origin of Species and dating before the Internet.
She is the author of Sage, a work with visual artist Claire Owen based on a 1633 text of herbal remedies. More about this project can be found here. She is also the author of Solacepublished by Greenleaf Poetry Press, and created as part of the 2014 Bartram Boxes Remix exhibition at the Center for Art in Wood in Philadelphia. She was a winner of the 2013 Haiku-Year-in-Review poetry competition by Broadsided Press. Her work has been published in Philadelphia Stories, The Quay Journal of the Arts and The Mad Poet's Review.
Her poem, "Transmutation," based on the life of Charles Darwin, was set to music by composer Andrew Litts as part of "Dialogues with Darwin," a collaborative project between the American Philosophical Society and Network for New Music, performed in February 2010. She is collaborating with Litts on a song cycle based on her poems entitled, Wind Rose. Also in 2010, her poem "The Ten Suggestions" was set to music by composer Alexis Ford.
Beth is a five-time artist-in-residence at the Ragdale Foundation. She is the Executive Director of the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation that supports arts and cultural programs in Philadelphia and Chair of the Poet Laureate Committee for the City of Philadelphia.
In danger of becoming known as ‘that nature poet’, she is psyched about her new project, RetroLove.
Beth lives near Philadelphia but would always rather be at the beach.