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Professor emerita of microbiology at the University of West Florida, MARY A. HOOD grew up in a small town near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Besides publishing over 60 scientific articles on microbial ecology and conservation, she is the author of three nature/travel essay collections and three previous collections of poetry.

All the Spectral Fractures: New and Selected Poems
by Mary A. Hood

ISBN 978-0-9984634-0-7, paperback, 237 pp., $24.95, November 9, 2017


The microbiologist Mary A. Hood has been acclaimed for essay collections that combine a scientist’s expertise with a gift for lyrical descriptions of the natural world. The Strangler Fig (Rowman & Littlefield), for example, was praised by critics as “a beautifully written journey through some of the last wild places on earth.”

But Hood is also a poet, and Shade Mountain Press is honored to present her three published collections and other work in this new compilation, All the Spectral Fractures.

Hood approaches her varied subject matter—swamps and forests, small-town life, high-stakes science—with bracing honesty and compassion. Her poems offer meditations on the interconnections between humans, plants, and animals (“we of the self-replicating molecules”), and portraits of ordinary people “trying to keep it together / without the glue of ego, uncertain a unified theory / resolves chaos, wondering if we must break / to be whole.”

Praise for All the Spectral Fractures

“Spans a prolific career bridging the scientific with the lyric, while also spanning history, the seasons, the globe, and a rich multitude of voices. … Her lines sparkle with ‘the glorious immediacy,’ even while speaking out against social injustices and the injuries inflicted on the earth.” —Jill McCabe Johnson, author of Revolutions We’d Hoped We’d Outgrown

“Shades from Sherwood Anderson to Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop to Loren Eiseley in its attention to human community, creatures and objects, and the unknown mysteries of existence, loss, and death.” —Laura-Gray Street, author of Pigment and Fume and coeditor of The Ecopoetry Anthology

“Like short stories in miniature…. Hood seems to be the odd microbiologist who is willing to sit down for a cup of coffee with almost anyone, and elicit a story, an illumination, and a poem.” —Emily Grosholz, author of The Stars of Earth: New and Selected Poems

“Mary A. Hood’s ability to weave lyrical nature and advanced scientific thought into her poems is the great strength of All the Spectral Fractures.” —Jeannine Hall Gailey, author of Field Guide to the End of the World and The Robot Scientist’s Daughter

“These poems teem with life.” —Robin Chapman, author of Images of a Complex World: The Art and Poetry of Chaos