“A Brave And Startling Truth” Opens The Universe In Verse

Written for the 50th anniversary of the United Nations in 1995 — and taken into space on the Orion spacecraft — there are few poems with a legacy as stunning as “A Brave and Startling Truth” by Maya Angelou. With its incredible insight, tackling both the nature of the universe and what it means to be human, it was the perfect opening for The Universe In Verse

“I chose this poem to set the tone for the show in part because it is absolutely stunning and acutely relevant to our cultural moment, and in part because the first time I read it, it sparked in me a sudden insight into the often invisible ways in which science and poetry influence and inspire one another — into how the golden threads of thought and feeling stretch and cross-hatch across disciplines to weave what we call culture,” Maria Popova explained.

Read by astrophysicist Janna Levi, it makes an incredible statement.

You can listen to the whole reading here:

The Universe In Verse is a celebration of science through poetry — and a form of activism, a statement against the ongoing attack on nature. It’s hard to think of a better poem for such an event than “A Brave and Startling Truth”, which manages to speak both to the earth and the heavens simultaneously.