The Hayflick Limit
Shifting focus from the limits of the telescope to the limits of the microscope, the poems in Matthew Tierney’s second collection place a premium on inventiveness while embracing extremes of fear, pain, cognition, and time. With demotic verve and a humming line, he gives voice to a range of characters who scrape out meaning in a carnivalesque universe that has birthed black holes and Warner Bros. cartoons, murky market economies, murkier quantum laws, Vincent Price, Molotov cocktails, seedless grapes, Area 51, and competing Theories of Everything. To be human is to cope with knowing. In the early 60s, Leonard Hayflick determined that healthy cells can divide only a finite number of times. Known as the Hayflick Limit, it sets an unsurpassable lifespan for our species at just over 120 years. The ultimate of limits, tackled by poetry of humour, intelligence, and lucidity.