Vanessa Gennarelli

Fractals is a collection of four poems about patterns in human behavior at a stratospheric level, poetry about how scientific concepts explain those patterns. A social scientist working at the intersection of cryptocurrency and global development, Gennarelli and her poetry respond to these patterns and to science. She writes about the technological components that hold our lives – geotagged images, restrictive menu defaults, distributed databases – and how they render an observer data. These data can be dehumanizing, abstract, analyzable, arguably inaccurate, but for Gennarelli, data becomes the raw basis for poetry. In Fractals, she brings us a poetry of crowd-funding, DNA testing, dark matter. Human data tells a story; science informs that story.

From the Curator

Gennarelli’s Fractals toes the line between the physical and imagined realms. These powerful poems expose the kinetic trepidations residing within us, questioning our inheritance

of a world imagined – a world which manifests the physical only as its palpable absence. Here, we find Williams’ assertion, ‘no ideas but in things’ undone, the meaning of the physical object instead stripped down to the memory of itself – an existence questionable and alarming. Fractals offers readers an anxious arithmetic; a world where we are haunted by our incalculable wanting, our lived vulnerabilities, our miscalculated optimism; and a place where our greatest desire may simply be for deviation from the pattern. The desire for deviation binds us; we’re all ‘hoping for a loophole.’

Carey L. Salerno, Executive Editor, Alice James Books

About the Author

Vanessa Gennarelli is a poet living in Philadelphia, PA. She is the recipient of the Lorabel Richardson/Academy of American Poets Prize, and her work has appeared in The Grinnell ReviewApiary, and Hot Metal Bridge.

Genra: Poems