Len Anderson's poetry

* Affection for the Unknowable (2003). * Invented by the Night (2011).

Invented by the Night

* Praise by Joseph Stroud * Praise by Nils Peterson * About Len Anderson

Buy 'Invented by the Night' You can buy Invented by the Night (ISBN 0-9716373-5-0, 84 pages, $15.00, Hummingbird Press) as follows:
  1. Ask your local book store to order this book of glorious poems.
  2. Check current instructions at the Hummingbird Press web site.

Hummingbird Press poets include:

Favorite poems:

Praise by Joseph (Joe) Stroud (author of Of This World):

"Invented by the Night is a book of marvels. Len Anderson writes a seamless poetry that entices the mind and the spirit and is infused with a deep sense of wonder and thankfulness. He is a rare combination: a physicist and a poet, and his poems inform us that the physical world is bound against chaos by the four elemental forces of nature (Electromagnetism, Gravity, the Weak and Strong Nuclear) and that our human world is held together by the sacramental force of love. The interplay between the physical and the human is where he crafts his unique and startling poetry. His vision is at once focused on the immediate here and now, looking at a blue ceramic cup and finding an 'unseen presence' as an agent of renewal, or biting into a fig which is 'born of a sacred act,' and a vision that is also expansive, taking in a world that includes Socrates, Giordano Bruno, Newton, Schrödinger, Saraswati, Descartes, Mevlevi dervishes, quantum physics, Flamenco, and the Delta blues singer Robert Johnson, among a host of others. Like Heidegger he is concerned with the nature of Being and how one might live authentically and with commitment. And like Kenneth Rexroth, he knows that a poet is one who creates sacramental relationships that last. As a physicist and poet he understands the magical dance of atoms that make up the world and the magical dance of words that make up the poem, and through these he sees that 'all matter is blessed / with awareness.' It is his unique awareness of this that enlarges and deepens our own."

Praise by Nils Peterson (author of A Walk to the Center of Things):

"Invented by the Night gathers for us the poems of a physicist brooding over the nature and origin of everything. We have poems that think about God or the gods and poems that peer at the vast nothings between bits of something. We learn that the Schrödinger equation looks like a collocation of 'small migratory birds blown in on stiff winds.' 'Where did I lay my wings when I came in the door?' the poet asks, 'I may want them on the way out.' Len Anderson is a rare poet, equally at home with iamb and atom."

Affection for the Unknowable

* Praise by Joseph Stroud * Praise by Calder Lowe * Our Review * About Len Anderson

Buy 'Affection for the Unknowable' You can buy Affection for the Unknowable (ISBN 0-9716373-5-0, 104 pages, $12.00, Hummingbird Press) as follows:
  1. Ask your local book store to order this book of glorious poems. Available in stores October 20, 2003.
  2. Check out current instructions at the Hummingbird Press web site.
  3. Order directly by e-mail to Hummingbird Press.

Hummingbird Press poets include:

Book Praised by Joseph (Joe) Stroud, author of Below Cold Mountain

"Len Anderson's Affection for the Unknowable might have included a subtitle: News from the Universe, for the poems in this book explore not only the personal world of the poet, but also the world of Quantum Theory and Heisenberg's Uncertainty, the world of physics and philosophy, ghazals of dark matter and the duende of Flamenco, the spectral lines of hydrogen and our kinship with a redwood tree. Len Anderson's poems manage this universe with clarity, candor, wit, compassion, and intelligence. This is a book of wonder and marvels. Len Anderson is a poet whose work bridges the Twentieth Century and the New Millennium."

Book Praised by Calder Lowe, Executive Editor of The Montserrat Review

"Affection for the Unknowable draws particular strength from its reverential exploration of a life alternately informed by a somber and trenchant perspective and an infectious jouissance. In reading this collection, there were extraordinary moments when I felt simultaneously humbled, awed and terrified, yet ultimately restored by the wisdom and vibrancy inherent in Anderson's world-view. His poetic voice is always a breath, a heartbeat, or a self-deprecating stumble away from the numinous. His book is an astonishing gift to us all."

Our Review

Len Anderson's Affection for the Unknowable tells of much that he knows, such as in Night Ghazal, which begins:

   My love and I and the golden poppies sleep beneath the wing of the night  
   and this deep field of stars is also covered by the night.
   I catch sight of her beauty and she asks, So who do you love?
   Only you, I answer, only day, only night.

At the same time he is indeed writing of what is unknowable, the darkness behind the light and the light behind the darkness.

In many of his poems Len Anderson uses the Ghazal verse form. It is especially in those that he mingles his physicality and attention to the physical world with his spiritual reaching toward what we cannot know - what is beyond life in space and time.

His training as a physicist and his career with machinery ground him, as does his childhood in an apricot orchard. Some of the most startling of his narrative poems are about his work with machinery and its operators in the paper mills where he once worked.

Len Anderson, then, establishes his poems on solid ground. and from there he bears you with strong wings up into his poems. He lifts you with humor and with sincerity into mystery, as in The Way Through, which ends:

   I told her I'd like to check out our thermochemistry.
   Turned out she was oxygen, I was fuel, I went up, then down, in flames.
   Friends, when you run into a burning house to save a child,
   the only way through the fire is to become flame.

This is a very fine book and we urge our readers to obtain their own copy.

How to Ordering your copy

You can buy Affection for the Unknowable (ISBN 0-9716373-5-0, 104 pages, $12.00, Hummingbird Press) as follows:

  1. Ask your local book store to order this book of glorious poems. Available in stores October 20, 2003.
  2. Order directly by e-mail to Hummingbird Press.

About Len Anderson

Len Anderson was born and raised on the San Francisco Peninsula and received his BA and PhD in physics from the University of California, Berkeley. As a physicist he worked in experimental elementary particle physics at Berkeley and in Europe; in private industry he developed sensors for the automation of paper manufacturing. He is a winner of the Dragonfly Press Poetry Competition and the Mary Lonnberg Smith Poetry Award. He and his wife live in Santa Cruz County, California. He is a co-founder of Poetry Santa Cruz.

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