At the volcano's edge, in exilic space, at the bottom of the Arctic Sea, or in the acid clouds of Venus, Mina Gorji's Scale traces life at its limits. The poems range across scales of distance, temperature and time, from vast to minute, glacial to volcanic, Pleistocene to present day, constellation to millipede. Adapting to the cold of a new continent opens a chromatic investigation of feeling. Shifting between scales, from insect to ancient star, Scale explores the forms, conditions and frequencies of survival.
Scale builds on the considerable achievement of Gorji's first book, Art of Escape (2019). When it was selected for the Telegraph Poetry Book of the Month, Tristram Fane Saunders spoke of Gorji's 'meticulous explorations' of 'the strange and sometimes darker side of nature' and 'the different forms and meanings of escape: dandelions crossing the ocean, the journey of a gall wasp from Aleppo to England, the transformation of an armadillo into music.'
Gorji's poems feed into current ecological concerns, but in no conventional or clichéd way. Marina Warner described her poems as 'building a place of safety—for herself, her family, her readers, and all those who are wandering and uprooted; her poetic methods take their cue from the many marvellous creatures she evokes and the multiple protective measures they adopt—nests, camouflage, mimicry, display. Above all, language can help create shelter.'