About the Book
Throughout Circle / Square, T. J. McLemore renders the language of physics and theoretical science into poetry to illuminate the mysterious ways we experience reality. Exploring the complex and thematically rich worlds of science and math, McLemore spins into verse the kind of material many poets might shy away from. Drawing from highly technical scientific materials, McLemore has crafted poems that are thoughtful, grounding, and expressively charged, leading readers through divine moments of wonder and contemplation.
Praise for Circle / Square
I’m struck by the gorgeous and precise imagery and depth of feeling in McLemore’s prosodic sway. These lines have been whittled with a masterful attention to language, surprise, and delicious romantic attention. Here the pastoral landscape meets meditation and math. Here light is gathered and dispersed, atoms dazzle and cry, fireflies glow, and “all things blur to white in a mess of a moment.” Each poem has a pulsating heart line that plucked me. Each poem taught me something new (and yet, still hauntingly familiar) about myself that I wasn’t ready for, which is why I come to poetry and why I’m so damn thankful this chapbook exists.
—Tiana Clark, author of I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood
What I appreciate about T. J. McLemore’s Circle/Square is how it embodies nonduality: it is both circle and square, both intellectually challenging and emotionally rich, imagistically startling and musically rich. This is a poet who understands that “The same math that mounds / this thunderhead pins us down, // peels back the stubborn veil / of the flesh—but only what’s shrouded // in dark can be blinded / by light” and more, this is a poet who can do that math. I kept rereading this chapbook for the way it illuminates the physic and metaphysic truths of being human. These are poems that work as proofs, proofs for the equations that hold the universe and our sublime natures together.
—Gerry LaFemina, author of The Story of Ash
T.J. McLemore’s poems combine imagination and music as a single act of knowing. The gift of the ear embodies the discovery — as in all true poetry, and in McLemore’s distinctive way. This writing is alert, and fun to read. For example, here is a line about matter dissolving into the vibration of light, a form of energy that endures, “humming whatever this song is we all run on, and run to.” I love how the clinching, intellectual turn of “run” in those two meanings springs from the playful, charged energy of “humming whatever this song is.”
—Robert Pinsky, author of At the Foundling Hospital