One of my favorite phrases (loved for the *sound* of it) first came to my ears during my college studies of abstract algebra: "**multiplication is denoted by juxtaposition**" -- and, within the phrase, I best like to say "juxtaposition." I enjoy its movement in my mouth, its sibilance in my ears. And so, of course, I set out to find a poem using the word. Having failed over many years to find the word in someone else's poem, I have written my own:
** Multiplication** by JoAnne Growney

*Multiplication* is the process

of taking one number as many times

as there are ones in another.
Keeping time is a simple matter of counting -- counting seconds, summing them into minutes, hours, days. Or is it? Recent news has included mention of the changing length of our solar day and the need for insertion of leap seconds. (A* leap second* is a one-second adustment to the time kept by precise atomic clocks -- to keep this latter time close to mean solar time. No leap-seconds were added in 2011 but NPR and *The Washington Post* recently announced that a leap second will be added June 30, 2012. At 7:59:59 PM, Eastern time, the US Naval Observatory will skip a second to 8:00:00 PM. Wikipedia offers detailed background on this concept.) Extra time is a fond wish for many of us -- and Leonard Orr has penned a love poem suggesting how one more second might be delightfully crowded with so much more than could happen in "regular" time.
Love of numbers is common in childhood -- and traditional nursery rhymes offer chances to know numbers as playmates and friends. "Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie . . . The king was in his counting house . . ." and so on. In "The Story of the Ten Blackbirds" poet Millicent Accardi combines a portrait of an amazing story-telling aunt with a collage of childhood memories, counted and remembered.
** The Story of the Ten Blackbirds** by Millicent Borges Accardi
Blended at times into
The three little pigs
Or the Catholic Saints.
Today's title comes from the following poem by statistician and poet Eveline Pye (introduced to this blog on 18 October, 2011).
** Numerical Landscape** by Eveline Pye
Like a tracker, I smell the earth

on my fingers, listen for the slightest

echo as I stare out at a world

where bell-shaped curves loom
As the author of this poem owes a debt to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, I too owe Greg Coxson -- who showed the poem to me.
**Hiawatha Designs an Experiment** by Maurice Kendall
Hiawatha, mighty hunter
He could shoot ten arrows upwards
Shoot them with such strength and swiftness
That the last had left the bowstring
Ere the first to earth descended.
This was commonly regarded
As a feat of skill and cunning.
The wit of American poet J. V. Cunningham (1911–1985) is here applied to statistics.
** Meditation on Statistical Method** by J. V. Cunningham
Plato, despair!
We prove by norms
How numbers bear
Empiric forms,
For each of us who's studied mathematics, the word "function" triggers important mathematical meanings. And so, when I read Patrice Phillips un-mathematical poem "The Function Room," I automatically add a mathematical layer to the meaning. Do you?
In Boston on Friday evening, January 6, at the 2012 Joint Mathematics Meetings, these folks gathered and read -- for a delighted audience in Room 312 of Hynes Convention Center -- some poems of mathematics.
Poets who submitted work in advance and were on the "Poetry with Mathematics" program included:
**Jacqueline Lapidus**, **Judith Johnson**, **Rosanna Iembo** (accompanied by the violin of her daughter **Irene Iaccarino**), **Charlotte Henderson**, **Carol Dorf** (read by **Elizabeth Langosy**), **Sandra Coleman**, **Marion Cohen**, **Tatiana Bonch** (read by **John Hiigli**), **Harry Baker** (via video presented by reading organizer **Gizem Karaali -- **an editor of the online *Journal of Humanistic Mathematics*, which sponsored the the reading), and **JoAnne Growney** (also an organizer of the reading).
Participants during an "open reading" included:
**Mary Buchinger**, **Chris Caragianis**, **Rip Coleman**, **Seth Goldberg,** **Joshua Holden**, **Ann Perbohner**, **Pedro Poitevin**, and **Jason Samuels**.