Archives For Lynn Pedersen The Nomenclature of Small Things

Maurice Turcotte hosts an interview series for first poetry book authors. Excited The Nomenclature of Small Things is featured this month! Questions cover process, influences, cover art, and future projects. The archives section of the web site is worth perusing as well. Maurice customizes each interview to the author and book. Link here: Open Alphabet.


It’s been a good month for The Nomenclature of Small Things. Many book award contests are underway, most of which are not limited to first books but to any books of poetry published within a calendar year. I’m grateful for recognition from the following award contests:

2016 Julie Suk Award Longlist for Poetry (Congratulations to Monique Ferrell for her collection Attaversiamo, NYQ Books)

2016 Forward INDIES Book of the Year Award Finalist for Poetry (winner announced June 2017)

2017 Georgia Author of the Year Award Nominee (winner announced June 2017).

Excited to be listed among so many great books!

And thanks to William Doreski for highlighting my book as part of a feature on eleven new poets in Harvard Review Online:

William Doreski, Harvard Review Online, The Nomenclature of Small Things, “Like Wings Unfolding in the Body”: Eleven New Poets


Thanks to Claire Lucille Trévien for creating a video poem of “How to Speak Nineteenth Century!” Lots of lyric leaps captured here from lunar nomenclature to photosynthesis to the chemical formula for water. This is part of a larger project to post a video poem a day featuring UK poets (and a few other writers) during the month of December. I will add the link below to the master list of Claire’s video poems. (The first video is one of Claire’s poems.) I met Claire when she edited a poetry anthology that included my work, and she reviewed my chapbook Tiktaalik, Adieu as well. “How to Speak Nineteenth Century” was originally published in the New England Review, as well as in the chapbook Theories of Rain and the full-length collection, The Nomenclature of Small Things.

Image result for poetry foundation logo

The Poetry Foundation featured “The Birth of Superstition,” from The Nomenclature of Small Things*, as Poem of the Day today. Three other poems went up this week on the Poetry Foundation site as well! Honored and glad to have these up as searchable resources for poetry readers, teachers, and students.

At Forty
The Birth of Superstition
A Brief History of the Passenger Pigeon
How to Move Away

The link to the Poetry Foundation.

*Note that books have temporarily sold out on but are available through Carnegie Mellon at this link: Nomenclature of Small Things

The Birth of Superstition

It’s not hard to imagine: my ancestor—a dry season,
               dust like chalk on her tongue—mixes
                              spit with clay,
traces a river on rock. Next day: rain.
                                                                           Why shouldn’t she believe
               in the power of rock and her own hand?
I carry this need for pattern and rule, to see connections
               where there aren’t necessarily any.
                                                            After my first miscarriage,
I cut out soda, cold cuts.
               After the second, vacuuming and air travel.
After the third—it’s chalk and spit again. I circle rocks,
               swim the icy river.
                                             And when my son is born, he balances
the chemical equation that is this world.
                                                                                          And logic?
Logic is my son’s kite, good so long as you have
               wind, string,
                                             something heavier than hope
                                                                                          to tether you.
Lynn Pedersen, “The Birth of Superstition” from The Nomenclature of Small Things.  Copyright © 2016 by Lynn Pedersen.  Reprinted by permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press.
Source: The Nomenclature of Small Things (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2016)

cell press

Happy to have The Nomenclature of Small Things featured along with Ellen Kombiyil’s Histories of the Future Perfect on the Cell Press blog. Thanks to Jannell McConnell Parsons for the review! “This is a book organized around questions, a constant circling back to what can and can’t be named­ . . .The language of science and the language of grief talk to each other, become each other, in these poems. I loved this book, from the first poem right through to the last, and whether you’re looking for solace or for the landscape of 18th century science, you’ll find it here.”

The poetics of evolution, extinction, space, and time.


AWP Conference

I just returned from my fourth AWP Conference where I had a great experience signing The Nomenclature of Small Things and meeting other Carnegie Mellon authors and staff! I spent most of my time around the book fair, but I also had a chance to sit in on some interesting book marketing and science-related panels. The Grub Street panel was a presentation on their Launch Lab strategies and offerings. Grub Street authors and staff spoke about integrating personal goals with book writing and marketing, and it was a higher level conversation than any I’ve heard. I came away from the conference with a list of poetry/nonfiction/environmental books to read, and a strategy for moving forward for the next year or two.

I met my publicist for the first time and appreciate that she traveled from London to Los Angeles! There is never enough time to connect with every writer and friend, attend every panel and book signing event. Every conference I try a different approach and this time around I was less tired. I can say that staying at the conference hotel (for the first time ever) was worth it!


Speaking with Director of Carnegie Mellon University Press, Jerry Costanzo

Book Review

Separately, Many Rose wrote a great review of Nomenclature in the April issue of Stirring: A Literary Collection.