The figurative language of JoAnna Klein

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of metaphors from JoAnna Klein….

JoAnna Klein is a freelance science journalist based in Brooklyn. She grew up in North Carolina and earned a master’s in experimental psychology. From there, she went on to publish research about how the brain processes emotion in Joseph LeDoux’s lab at NYU.

She subsequently earned a Master of Arts in Journalism from NYU’s Science, Health and Reporting Program. Right now, she writes for the Trilobites column at The New York Times Science Desk and has also collaborated on virtual reality stories for that paper. Her stories have also appeared in Newsweek, Motherboard and The Scientist.  

I learned about JoAnna Klein upon receiving an email from reader Karen Bower who brought my attention to the marvellous New York Times story “A forest submerged 60,000 years ago could save your life one day.”

Here are some spectacular bits of figurative writing from this remarkable article:

  • The sun lounged on obsidian water, masking a secret world where land and sea swap places, and past, present and future collide.
  • The vessel, having reached the rig, idles on foamy water beneath its rigid steel beams, in a sticky, highway-scented mist.
  • Fog swallowed the rig as the boat left it behind. Then it swallowed the boat. 
  • The wood was so pliable it could be picked apart with fingers, splinter by splinter. The scraps looked like pulled pork.
  • Pholadidae, which resemble white grapes, are shipworms’ younger cousins.
  • Some colonies resemble gummy-ish lichens, but on closer inspection are woven squares.