Histories of the Future Perfect by Ellen Kombiyil is a book of poetry inspired by concepts in astrophysics. Canvassing across time and space to provide a luminescence unafraid of the big ideas, the book itself has what Kombiyil calls a quantum structure. Here we find Galileo’s thumbprint, Kurt Cobain Las Vegas, and Mary Lincoln communing with the dead. The poems themselves are never narrowly historical but rather cosmic in their inflections, taking on subatomic particles, DNA, and black holes, not simply as scientific props but as the very impetus for lyric motion.


 

“This is a poet who can toggle between bikinis and trilobites, between astrophysics and pop culture, between elegy and premonition. Kombiyil’s work is alive to whiplash our lives in the timeloops of the universe.” 

Maureen N. McLane, My Poets and This Blue

“These are intellectually dexterous poems, but, more vitally, poems ‘laden and alive’ with unexpected illumination.” 

—Arundhathi SubramaniamWhen God is a Traveller

“Ellen Kombiyil’s debut collection contains one of the most marvelous lines of poetry I’ve read in quite a while: ‘oh one one zero zero oh oh one.’ Unequivocating and precise as binary code, Kombiyil’s work hacks into the lyric itself, in poems of unsettling intelligence and emotional honesty.” 

—Srikanth Reddy, Facts for Visitors

“‘Nothing happens until something moves,’ Albert Einstein once said, and Ellen Kombiyil’s first book of poems is a glorious embodiment of that principle. Innovative, ecstatic, and emotionally potent, these poems shimmer with their skill and acumen, and indeed it’s been a long time since I’ve been as excited about a new book as I am about this one.”

—Ravi Shankar, The Autobiography of a Goddess

 



Photo credit:  © Shyamsundar Govindan

Photo credit:  © Shyamsundar Govindan