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In his poem “Afterward,” James Applewhite imagines a curious Eve in the Garden of Eden, her eye falling upon a twisting river and an S-shaped snake before she eats from the tree of knowledge, choosing change over stasis. Applewhite’s new collection Time Beginnings casts a keenly observant eye on the ever-varied natural world and meditates on the place of humans within it. In these philosophical poems, the slow creation of new planets in the farthest reaches of the galaxy mirrors the development of single-celled Earth organisms whose “first awareness . . . foretell[s] a consciousness / of self, the life lived knowing of death.”
Meditating upon topics as far-ranging as the movement of photons in the heart of the sun and the single drop of blood on the finger of a girl holding a rosebud, James Applewhite’s poems explore deeply the mysteries of the galaxies and the complexities of being human.