Lewiston-Auburn College Atrium Art Gallery

Pollination: Evolving Miracles

"Pollination: Evolving Miracles"

April 19- June 7, 2013.

Artists interpretation of botanical themes, pollinators, and their environment.

Nicrophorus tomentosus
(Nicrophorus tomentosus. Watercolor, pencil. Heinrich, B. 2012. A heretofore unreported instant color change in a beetle, Nicrophorus tomentosus Weber (Coleoptera: Sylphidae). Northeastern Naturalist 19(2): 345-352

A bumblebee in flight is in the center and surrounded by a sequence (starting at the bottom) showing an instant color change of a carrion beetle, Nicorphorus tomentosus, to mimic the bumblebee in flight and thus be protected because birds have learned to avoid stings.

Poetry in the exhibit

The Miracle of the Bees and the Foxgloves
Because hairs on their speckled daybeds baffle the little bees,
foxgloves come out to advertise for rich bumbling hummers,
who crawl into their tunnels-of-delight with drunken ease
(see Darwin’s chapters on his foxglove summers)
plunging over heckles caked with sex-appealing stuff
to sip from every hooker its intoxicating liquor
and stop it propagating in a corner with itself.

And this is how the foxflower keeps its sex life in order.
Two anthers—adolescent, in a hurry to dehisce—
let fly too soon, so pollen lies in drifts around the floor.  
Along swims bumbler bee and makes an undercoat of this,
reverses, exits, lets it fall by accident next door.  
So ripeness climbs the bells of Digitalis, flower by flower,
undistracted by a Mind, or a Design, or by desire.

-Anne Stevenson
Astonishment (Bloodaxe Books, 2012)

NOTES: In eight pages of The Effects of Cross- and Self-Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom (London, 1876: 81–88), Charles Darwin describes an experiment he began in June 1869 among the foxgloves of North Wales. This just one of his thousands of experiments demonstrating the superiority of cross-fertilization and throwing light on the origin of sexuality.

Anne Stevenson was born in Cambridge, England, in 1933, of American parents, and grew up in New England and Michigan, and has lived in England for most of her life.

She has held many literary fellowships, and was the inaugural winner of Britain’s biggest literary prize, the Northern Rock Foundation Writer’s Award, in 2002. Her many awards include the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award for and the Aiken Taylor Award in Modern American Poetry.  In 2008, The Library of America published Anne Stevenson: Selected Poems, edited by Andrew Motion, in conjunction with the Neglected Masters Award. This series is exclusively devoted to the greatest figures in American literature.

As well as her numerous collections of poetry, Anne Stevenson has published a biography of Sylvia Plath (1989), a book of essays, Between the Iceberg and the Ship (1998), and two critical studies of Elizabeth Bishop’s work, most recently Five Looks at Elizabeth Bishop (Bloodaxe Books, 2006). Her latest poetry books are Poems 1955-2005 (2005), Stone Milk (2007) and Astonishment (2012), all from Bloodaxe.

You see it as summer begins
    to shimmer on the rims
        of ponds, in rifts
            in stone where ants assume
their awesome responsibilities,
    on eaves of Victorian mansions
        limned with last light–
            pale curtains sweeping
among the generous trees,
    messages sent between green
        families, greetings
            before the heat strikes us
too lazy to speak, or even
    nod in the sullen breeze,
        surging across the vast
            expanses of lawns, past
new screens, tumbling
    through rich stories of air
        to dust floors, mirrors,
            every surface with a frail
film where a boy an trace
    his name, then raise
        the finger to his lips
            to taste the feathery
light, the bright ash, the yellow
    powder etching the whorls
        of his finger’s tip with mild
            fire, incandescence,
this swollen glimmer, loose
    spirit, the hours’ aura,
        the plush, allusive
            tremble of pollen.

–Michael Waters

Michael Waters’ recent books include Gospel Night (2011), Darling Vulgarity (2006—finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize), & Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems (2001) from BOA Editions. He has co-edited Contemporary American Poetry (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) and Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing from Homer to Ali (Southern Illinois UP, 2003). Waters lives in Ocean, NJ and teaches at Monmouth University and in the Drew University MFA Program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation.