Monday, November 6, 2006 at 7:30 p.m - Darlington's Fall, A Novel in Verse by Brad Leithauser

On the cusp of the 20th century, an encounter with a rare butterfly in rural Indiana sets Russel Darlington’s life in motion and propels the narrative of Brad Leithauser’s unlikely epic poem Darlington’s Fall, a 300-page novel in verse (Knopf, $25). As a promising young professor hungry to explore the new age of Darwin, Darlington takes off for an obscure Pacific island in search of more alluring lepidoptera. It is on Ponape (now known as Pohnpei—a model Nature Conservancy project site in Micronesia) that the romantic naturalist has a fateful encounter with a “fluttering lady … of pure iridescence.” Essentially a love story, Darlington’s Fall is also a fascinating meditation on chance, natural selection, the nature of science and art, and the evolution of species—and the human individual. ( by Ron Geatz in Nature Conservancy Magazine)