A Treatise on Stars

Finalist, National Book Awards 2020 for Poetry

ISBN 9780811229388
New Directions
Mei-mei Berssenbrugge

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge was born in Beijing and grew up in Massachusetts. She is the author of thirteen books of poetry, including Hello, the Roses; Empathy; and I Love Artists. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

A Treatise on Stars extends Mei-mei Berssenbrugge’s intensely phenomenological poetics to the fiery bodies in a “field of heaven…outside spacetime.” Long, lyrical lines map a geography of interconnected, interdimensional intelligence that exists in all places and sentient beings. These are poems of deep listening and patient waiting, open to the cosmic loom, the channeling of daily experience and conversation, gestalt and angels, dolphins and a star-visitor beneath a tree. Family, too, becomes a type of constellation, a thought “a form of organized light.” All of our sense are activated by Berssenbrugge’s radiant lines, giving us a poetry of keen perception grounded in the physical world, where “days fill with splendor, and earth offers its pristine beauty to an expanding present.”

Judges Citation

A Treatise on Stars by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge is a breathtaking record of biological, chemical, and spiritual entanglement. Moving on a logarithmic arc from the felt experience of night into the scientific realm of space dust, this work is informed by a generous practice of observation and reception, in which allyship is everywhere evident. Has it ever been more clear that our fates are linked with everything around us? “Look up,” the poems tell us. “Respect is a portal.”