Year of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Individualized Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program

Department or School/College

Interdisciplinary Studies Program

Committee Chair

Robert Baker

Commitee Members

Louise Economides, Christopher Preston, Diana Six, Prageeta Sharma


anthropocene, ecopoetry, environment, interdisciplinary, poetry, science poem


University of Montana


For centuries, poetry was a primary form of science communication. The sharp dichotomy of science communication as distinct from poetry occurred only recently. Scholars, philosophers, scientists, and artists comparing poetry and science in the literature have often focused on truth, emotion, knowledge-power, imagination, and objectivity, and in all but imagination, most presented the two as opposing facets with binaries serving as evidence of their incongruities. Yet poems with science content are multidisciplinary creations that can increase the encounter of scientific information, enhance understanding of scientific topics, and provide a resonant encounter with language. Science poetry can give scientific information necessary context in the greater entanglement of reality and its interconnectedness and can transform cultural norms for how we encounter both science and poetry. Scientific information can be absorbed and reprecipitated into poetry, where it enters into cultural conversation. In this interdisciplinary dissertation, I explore the historical relationship between science and poetry, provide a critical examination of contemporary science poetry, and create poems with varying science content. I discuss poetic craft of science poems and offer techniques for creating effective science poetry. The more science content included in a poem, the more pressure there is on the craft element to incorporate the information into the feel-space of language. The most successful craft technique to include large amounts of legible scientific information is to contrast and offset poetic and scientific language in the poem. Offsetting scientific language with poetic language can be achieved in several ways, including physically separating the language and having contrasting diction, syntax, and form to alert a reader of the difference between the two in the work. I demonstrate this technique in my science poems and show how science poetry can offer a holistic and reintegrated way to encounter scientific information.

Available for download on Wednesday, January 01, 2031

This record is only available
to users affiliated with
the University of Montana.

Request Access



© Copyright 2022 Rebecca Alice Durham