REVIEW: “Gliese 581g” by John C. Mannone

Review of John C. Mannone, “Gliese 581g”, in David G. Clark, Callum Colback, Joe Butler, and Alex Hareland, eds., Beneath Strange Stars, (TL;DR Press, 2020): 191-193 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

This poem comes with an informative note! “The exoplanet, Gliese 581g is a highly contested planet about twice Earth’s mass in the middle of the habitable zone” (p. 193), and it is also the subject of the poem…or rather, it’s the objective of the space crew that are en route to colonise it. But of course, we never know what might greet us when we finally do make it to another planet…

The poem itself is written with a repetitive structure — not quite a rondelle, not quite a villanelle, but picking up a phrase from one stanza and reusing or adapting it in the next. I love this sort of poetry, but I felt that this one would have benefited from have a slightly more defined structure — the repetitions felt repetitive, rather than structured, at times. Still, Mannone’s poems remain one of the highlights of the volume.

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