A spider, a snail, a biologist mother, and her daughter walk into a poem. The mother suffers a brain injury in which language goes missing. The daughter spins metaphors into allegories (drawn from the entomological and etymological alike) to release memory into the tongue her mother taught her to live by: "I wasn't allowed to retain a childish lexicon." Epistemology dances with ontology. Pleasure, beauty, and the unassailable 'who am I?' transform this astonishing elegy into a symphony played on silky strings: "the past is what gets flooded from you/ when blood comes/between the spider mother and the mother// that lasts." A book of heartbreaking delight and enthralling consciousness, Nervous System is an aesthetic rarity that places natural science at the service of being--through this book we are again whole with the world. --Fady Joudah
To see a spider bring forth – from the manifold mysteries of her interior – a single tensile strand is a minor miracle. To see her weave these strands into a geometry as functional as it is elegant is to feel another level of admiration – for the fusion of instinct and intellect, of art and necessity. Rosalie Moffett’s poems share this visceral tug and this dexterous virtuosity -- “[w]hatever the world offers in the way / of sustenance snares // in those careful lines.” She links together family and injury and biology and geography and destiny and dailiness into a causal geometry of breakages as heartbreaking as it is exquisite. --Monica Youn
Rosalie Moffett’s Nervous System is a pellucid, intricate beautiful book length meditation on the contingencies of human attachment. A masterful and luminous book. --Alan Shapiro
"Moffett creates order out of the chaos in this radiant collection, cataloging the known and unknown into a coherent story for both the reader and herself."