Elemental Haiku

A fascinating little illustrated series of 118 haiku about the Periodic Table of Elements, one for each element, plus a closing haiku for element 119 (not yet synthesized). 

Originally appearing in Science magazine, this gifty collection of haiku inspired by the periodic table of elements features all-new poems paired with original and imaginative line illustrations drawn from the natural world. Packed with wit, whimsy, and real science cred, each haiku celebrates the cosmic poetry behind each element, while accompanying notes reveal the fascinating facts that inform it. Award-winning poet Mary Soon Lee’s haiku encompass astronomy, biology, chemistry, history, and physics, such as “Nickel, Ni: Forged in fusion’s fire,/flung out from supernovae./Demoted to coins.” Line by line, Elemental Haiku makes the mysteries of the universe’s elements accessible to all.


“ELEMENTAL HAIKU is a special alchemy of poetry and science that demonstrates something that’s easily forgotten: that these chemical elements are more than just symbols in squares on a table.”

The Sciku Project

“Lee is a master alchemist of words.”

Strange Horizons

“Science-minded poetry lovers—and poetry-loving science minds—will relish this little collection […] ELEMENTAL HAIKU is a whimsical, wondrous delight!”

Bas Bleu

“The three line poems carry an essence of simplicity, musicality and marvelous imagery.”

Long Review Review

"You'll find a bite-sized chunk of science and history on each page that doesn't come across as pedantic. A perfect book for reading aloud or just contemplating quietly while you relax, Elemental Haiku would make a great gift for the science nerd in your life.

Provo City Library

"On the basis of this beautifully crafted collection, I would place Mary Soon Lee firmly among their ranks. The book deserves a place in chemistry classrooms and on poetry shelves everywhere."

Marian Christie Poetry

Awards & Accolades


Featured on the official International Year of the Periodic Table website