When the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, Bernard H. Porter was working as a physicist for the Manhattan Project. Disillusioned, he resigned soon after and went on to become an accomplished poet and sculptor. Porter, who lived in Belfast, Maine, and was the town’s poet laureate, died on June 7.
The author of many books of poetry, as well as autobiographies and bibliographies, Porter sought to unify the arts and sciences in a philosophy he called “Sciart.” James Schevill, a professor emeritus of English at Brown, wrote in his 1992 biography of Porter that the poet “has become one of America’s foremost artistic experimentalists, creating a rare fusion of scientific experience and artistic vision.” Porter’s book Sounds That Arouse Me (1993) includes poetry, literary manifestos, essays on particle physics, and recollections of such figures as Albert Einstein and Henry Miller.
Early in his career Porter was involved in developing television technology. Before moving to Belfast, he ran a bookstore and gallery in the San Francisco area that exhibited abstract and surreal art and sponsored poetry readings. He leaves no immediate survivors.