Sensitive to Temperature


These poems feel as if they move in and out of consciousness, preoccupied with the language of psychology, tapered by wonder and restraint. There’s a casual knowingness to the work which encourages the reader to also peer beyond their reality, in the hope something new appears.– Anthony Anaxagorou

Winner of the 2022 New Poets Prize.

Sensitive to Temperature seeks out the precariousness and sensitivities of language, as well as the fragilities of the world it represents. These are eco-poems that experience time on a human and non-human scale, from the movements of rock to the sources of rivers.

Accomplished and compelling in equal measure, Alagappan’s poetry tackles the big subjects—love, family, memory, the earth—by setting the planetary and the personal in close proximity. Her voice flickers with intimacy as it celebrates and laments the shared vulnerabilities of human and heavenly bodies. In their deft leaps between the local and the cosmic, these poems always land on the side of hope.Erica McAlpine

A rare quality I find in Alagappan’s work is the balance between susceptibility and resilience and how these tensions invigorate her poetics. She is an exciting new voice on the scene and I can’t wait to read more by her.Daljit Nagra

Published June 2023.

What Writers and Critics Think

  • Serena Alagappan draws on numerous fields of study: philosophy, science, psychology, religion, popular culture, media, in an attempt to find order and meaning in our world. Connections and comparisons are continually explored between the solid and the ephemeral, between the seen and the unseen.

    Susan Jane Sims, ArtemisPoetry


Serena Alagappan received her A.B. in comparative literature and creative writing from Princeton University in 2020. She then studied social anthropology and literature at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. She has edited poetry for the thirtieth annual Mays Anthology and the Oxford Review of Books. Her poems have appeared in The London Magazine, The American Journal of Poetry, the Colorado Review, and elsewhere.

Additional information

Dimensions N/A

eBook (ePub), Pamphlet


9781914914478, 9781914914485



Publication Year

June 2023