The Robot Scientist's Daughter (Paperback)

By Jeannine Hall Gailey

Mayapple Press, 9781936419425, 82pp.

Publication Date: March 1, 2015

List Price: 15.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Poetry. Dazzling in its descriptions of a natural world imperiled by the hidden dangers of our nuclear past, this book presents a girl in search of the secrets of survival. In THE ROBOT SCIENTIST'S DAUGHTER, Jeannine Hall Gailey creates for us a world of radioactive wasps, cesium in the sunflowers, and robotic daughters. She conjures the intricate menace of the nuclear family and nuclear history, juxtaposing surreal cyborgs, mad scientists from fifties horror flicks and languid scenes of rural childhood. Mining her experience growing up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the writer allows the stories of the creation of the first atomic bomb, the unintended consequences of scientific discovery, and building nests for birds in the crooks of maple trees to weave together a reality at once terrifying and beautiful. THE ROBOT SCIENTIST'S DAUGHTER reveals the underside of the Manhattan Project from a personal angle, and charts a woman's and America's journey towards reinvention.

"In THE ROBOT SCIENTIST'S DAUGHTER, Jeannine Hall Gailey charts the dangerous secrets in a nuclear family as well as a nuclear research facility. Her ecofeminist approach to the making of bombs, celebrates our fragile natural world. Full of flowers and computers, this riveting poetry captures the undeniable compromises and complexities of our times." Denise Duhamel

"What is her story? 'In this story, ' Jeannine Gailey tells us, 'a girl grows up in a field of nuclear reactors. She gives us lessons in poison. And as we watch this heroine appear from various angles, in multiple lights we realize that just like this girl who 'made birds' nests / with mud and twigs, hoping that birds would / come live in them.' Gailey makes an archetype for a contemporary American woman whom she sees as beautiful and damaged and proud and unafraid. And the Scientist? He 'lives alone in a house made of snow. / If he makes music, no one hears it.' America? It builds barbed wire 'to keep enemies out of its dream' but we all are surrounded by these barbed wires of a country whose 'towns melt into sunsets, into dust clouds, into faces.' In subtle, playful, courageous poems, we are witnessing a brilliant performance." Ilya Kaminsky

"THE ROBOT SCIENTIST'S DAUGHTER gives us a magnificent voice who is at turns 'happy with the apple blossoms, ' and yet whip-smart enough to know 'the beauties of voltmeter and oscilloscope.' But underneath the beautifully measured sheen and spark of these bright stanzas, is a human who opens up thrilling new worlds by also fearlessly inhabiting poems of sorrow, survival, and identity one whose 'tongue is alive with lasers and whose] song attracts thousands.'" Aimee Nezhukumatathil