Friday, May 17, 2024

Which of us have ARITHMOMANIA?

     One of my favorite email subscriptions is to A.Word.A.Day --  a day-to-day collection each week (gathered by Anu Garg)  of five related terms to learn anjoy.  On April 15, I learned the new word arithmomania  -- and quote the following from Garg's posting.

arithmomania     PRONUNCIATION: (uh-rith-muh-MAY-nee-uh)

MEANING:   noun: An obsessive preoccupation with numbers, calculations, and counting.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Scientific American feature-- METER

Richard Blanco:     “An engineer, poet, Cuban American… his poetry bridges cultures and languages – a mosaic of our past, our present, and our future – reflecting a nation that is hectic, colorful, and still becoming.”

President Joe Biden, conferring the National Humanities Medal on Blanco

RICHARD BLANCO is a professional civil engineer and a poet. He read his poem “One Today” at the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, who selected him to serve as the fifth Presidential Inaugural Poet in U.S. history.  Blanco's inauguration appearance is reported at this link and connection to his inaugural poem is offered there.

    One of my current favorite math-poetry sources is Scientific American -- edited by feminist science writer Dava Sobel and presented each month under the heading Meter.  The selection for December, 2022 was "Uncertain-Sea Principle" by Richard Blanco.  Here are it's opening lines: 

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

2024 AMS Math-Poetry Contest Winners

     Each year the American Mathematical Society sponsors a student poetry contest-- looking for submissions from students in three categories -- junior high, senior high and college.  This year's winners are:

“An Intriguing Mystery” by Jera Feem V. Forro,  University of the Philippines Visayas Iloilo City High School  

“Meditation on Mathematics” by Chelsea Zhu, Richard Montgomery High School

"Infinity Is Known by Many Names" by Jasmin Mundi, American University

    A poster of the winning poems (shown below) is available for order at this link -- where one also finds You-Tube videos of the poets reading their winning poems.  For more information about the contest and names of honorable-mention poets and previous years' winners, go here.

Friday, May 3, 2024

Happy Birthday, AWM!

      An organization that I celebrate -- though not often enough -- is the Association for Women in Mathematics which celebrates its 53rd birthday today.  Join me in a visit to the AWM website to explore their programs and a visit to this blog post from 3 years ago that celebrates AWM with a poem.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Wordsmith theme -- words from Geometry

      A delightful stimulus to expand my vocabulary is my subscription to "A.Word.A,Day" by Anu Garg -- and each Monday-through-Friday I get an email notification of a new word.  This week's theme is "Words from Geometry" and today's word is tangent -- go here to read, learn, and enjoy Garg's discussion of this word.

    And here is a link to this blog's earlier postings  that include poetic consideration of the term tangent.

Monday, April 29, 2024

Speaking in Fibs . . .

     Syllable-count patterns often are used in poems--helping to give a rhythmic tempo to the words.  As I mention often, syllable counts -- and other word-patterns -- help me to discover new and special meanings to convey. When I start to write, my thoughts are scattered and need to be gathered and focused -- and a poetic form helps this to happen.  The sonnet and the villanelle have long been valued examples of poetry patterns.  More recent -- and more simple -- is the FibIntroduced by poet Gregory Pincus back in 2006, the Fib is a six-line poem whose syllables are counted by the first six Fibonacci numbers:  1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8. (Each succeeding Fibonacci number is the sum of the two that precede it.)

     Since 2006, a journal aptly named The Fib Review has offered (available at this website) more than 40 issues of poems, all of whose lines have syllable-counts that are  Fibonacci numbers.  Here is a portion of one of the poems -- by Washington-based poet Sterling Warner --  (the complete poem is found here).



Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Math in Shakespeare . . .

     Yesterday, April 23, is the day on which William Shakespeare's birthday is celebrated; he was born long ago in 1564 and the actual date is uncertain.   The BBC Radio Newshour today featured this event in its broadcast  and told of ways that Shakespeare used mathematical ideas in his writing.  A broadcast recording is available at this link; the Shakespeare-math info begins at approximately 25 minutes into the show.   Ideas come from a book that is coming out next September,  Much Ado About Numbers: Shakespeare's Mathematical Life and Times by Rob Eastaway

One of the interesting items I found as I browsed was the phrase

    eight score eight       in Othello -- a three-syllable way for saying 168.

     Here is a link to an article that focuses on Shakespeare's use of zero.

Monday, April 22, 2024

EARTH DAY -- what are ways to preserve our planet?

Save
our
Mother
Earth -- conserve 
our resources, shift 
to non-polluting substances.

As many of you readers know, the poem above is an example of  a FIB -- a six-line poem with syllable-counts matching the first six Fibonacci numbers,  When I sit down to write about a particular topic, I often find the the FIB format is a good way to start -- developing an idea starting with single words and gradually developing longer phrases.   And, today, outside of this blog, I am trying to learn more about earth friendly substances.

If you have time to be interested in more mathy and earth-friendly poems, this link leads to the results of a blog search for climate change and this second link leads to previous Earth Day blog postings.

 This link leads to postings -- and poems -- in this blog related to CLIMATE.

And here is a link to several previous EARTH DAY postings..


Thursday, April 18, 2024

A Mathy Celebration of National Poetry Month

     It is a delight to me to see math and science publications including poetry!  Today I am enjoying the work of North Carolina poet Britt Kaufmann -- Kaufmann works as a math tutor -- and her poem "Midnight Calculus" appeared in the February 2024 issue of Scientific American.  The accompanying bio mentioned that Kaufmann took her first calculus course at age 47.

     More recently, under the heading "In Celebration of National Poetry Month," MAA FOCUS, the Newsmagazine of the Mathematical Association of America. another Kaufmann poem appeared, "Z-score of Zero."   (A z-score measures exactly how many standard deviations above or below the mean a particular data-number is.)  Kaufmann gives us a thoughtful poetic reflection of math on life!  

Monday, April 15, 2024

The Geometry of Distraction

      California poet Carol Dorf is a retired math teacher and writer of a very varied library of poems, including many with math connections.  It has been my pleasure to read with her at math-poetry readings and to include a number of her poems here in my blog.  (This link leads to a list of my many postings of her work here in this blog.)
    Browsing online today, I have come across still another one of Dorf's mathy poems which I would like to share.  Here are the opening lines of "Spring Again: -- and the complete poem is found here at poetryfoundation.org.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Enjoying Math-Poetry Connections

           Poet Emily Lutken's first career was as a physician -- she specialized in family medicine and spent many years of practice in the Navaho Nation.  Following this she taught middle and high school math and science for several years , , , and now, retired, she has time for music, poetry, and other arts.

     On my shelf --- for my frequent rereading and enjoyment -- is a copy of Lutken's 2021 collection, Manifold:  poetry of mathematics. (3: A Taos Press, 2021).   Here is a favorite poem of mine from that collection:

   Prime Syllable Song    by Emily Lutken

          Prime 
          numbers
          do not care
          to make a rhyme.
          They blaze wild pathways.
          While others tow the line,
          they play crwths or smash guitars,
          unlike composite counts assigned
          to echo harmonic notes in time
          and avoid the oddball and ill-defined.
          Without primes, though, the music would be boring,
          the sing-song regularity, the constant whine
          would drive all of us absolutely batshit bonkers.

This link leads to more information about Manifold, in which the poem above is found.  This link leads to Lutken's website -- which includes more poetry and a bio of the poet.

This link leads to a poem by Lutken about a solar eclipse.  

Another of Lutken's poems, "Ars Parabola," appears in this blog at this link.


Monday, April 8, 2024

Using POETRY as an aid in learning MATHEMATICS

     "Math problems take on new meaning in this class that combines rhymes and verse with math instruction."

     The above quotation comes from the website The Conversation, from a series entitled Uncommon Courses -- a series that highlights unconventional approaches to teaching.  In an article entitled "Rhyme and reason -- why a university professor uses poetry to teach math," Ricardo Martinez -- who teaches mathematics education at Penn State University --  tells how math problems take on new meaning in a class that combines rhymes and verse with math instruction. 

 As he tells about the course, Martinez explains:

I have always enjoyed writing poetry. As a high school mathematics teacher, I recall telling my students that everything is and can be connected to math, even creative writing. Then, as a graduate student, I read about people using “I am” poem templates for young people to express who they are through a series of “I am” statements, and I thought to myself, where is the “I am” math poem template? So I created one. 

Friday, March 29, 2024

Math meets Poetry -- Student's Senior Project

      Lawrence "Larry" Lesser is a mathematics and statistics professor at the University of Texas in El Paso -- and is also an active poet and song-writer.  This link leads to my previous inclusions of his poetry and ideas earlier in this blog.  Recently one of Lesser's Facebook postings led me to an article about a student at Kalamazoo College in Michigan who combined math with poetry for her senior project.  This article about Elizabeth "Lizzy" Rottenberk tell how her loves for mathematics and poetry connect and it offers the following sample math-poetry pair:

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

A blog posting written by ChatGPT 3.5

     For a long time I have been curious about what would result if I asked AI to write a blog post for me.  One day recently I signed in at https://chat.openai.com/ and was asked by ChatGPT 3.5,  "How can I help you today?"  Copied and pasted below is our conversation (copied from this link).  (I am disappointed that ChatGPT's respones did not, as my postings usually do, include a poem.)  Read -- and reflect!

UserI have a blog entitled "Intersections -- Poetry with Mathematics" and I would like Chat GPT to write a blog posting for me.  

From ChatGPT: 

Title: Exploring the Symmetry of Numbers: A Mathematical Poetic Journey

Welcome back to "  Intersections -- Poetry with Mathematics"! Today, let's delve into the captivating world where numbers and poetry intertwine, creating harmonies of symmetry and rhythm. Join me on this whimsical voyage where mathematical concepts dance with lyrical verses, inviting you to see the beauty in both.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

They Say She WAS GOOD (for a woman)!

     March is Women's History Month; March 23 1882 is the birthdate of Emmy Noether (1882-1935).  Here is a photo of Noether from a  Twitter X posting from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at St. Andrews -- and it is followed by a stanza from a poem about Noether that I was inspired to write many years ago; following those lines, a link to previous poetic postings about Noether in this blog.

       

Thursday, March 21, 2024

March 21 -- Celebrate World Poetry Day

 This blog has lots of poetry possibilities!
Scroll down and choose a mathy poem!

READ and CELEBRATE!


Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Honoring Math Teacher and Poet, Amy Uyematsu

      On Saturday, March 23 at 2 PM, a poetry-event is planned at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge, California to celebrate the life of poet, math teacher, and activist Amy Uyematsu (1947-2023).  It was my pleasure to be connected to Amy via various math-related events and her work has been included in previous postings in this blog.  (Here's a link to a list of those earlier posts.)

     One of my favorite poems of Amy's is  "The Meaning of Zero:  A Love Poem."  The complete poem is found here at Poets. org and in the collection Strange Attractors:  Poems of Love and Mathematics-- and I offer its opening stanzas below.

Uyematsu's complete poem is available at this link.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Discovery Tool -- Following a Pattern

     When I pick up a pen to write on a particular subject, often it is useful me to try to follow a pattern for rhymes or syllable-counts -- for the effort to conform to a pattern challenges me to think about my topic in new ways.  In the history of poetry, rhyme-choices were frequent--yielding sonnets, villanelles and a variety of other forms.  

     In recent years, online and printed versions of poems have become very accessible and the principle, "Rhymes help us remember" has become less of a focus in poetry.  One of the popular connections between math and poetry has been the use of Fibonacci numbers to choose syllable counts;  especially  popular has been the FIB, a six-line stanza in which the syllable-counts are 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, and 8 -- the first six Fibonacci numbers.  (Inventor of the FIB was Greg Pincus, and lots of information is provided here in this 2010 blog posting, Poems with Fibonacci number patterns.)  

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Celebrate Pi

     Soon it will be Pi-Day (3.14) and this year I again call your attention to a poem by one of my long-time favorite poets -- the poem "Pi" by Polish Nobel Prize-winning poet Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012).   I offer a portion of the poem below (followed by a link to the complete poem).

from    Pi     by Wiwlawa Szymborska  

 (translated from Polish by Clare Cavanaugh and Stanislaw Baranczak (1946-2014)).

     The admirable number pi:
     three point one four one
     All the following digits are also initial,
     five nine two because it never ends.
     It can’t be comprehended six five three five at a glance,
     eight nine by calculation,
     seven nine or imagination,
     not even three two three eight by wit, that is, by comparison
     four six to anything else
     two six four three in the world.
     The longest snake on earth call it quits at about forty feet.
     Likewise, snakes of myth and legend, though they may
                hold out a bit longer.
     The pageant of digits comprising the number pi
     doesn’t stop at the page’s edge.        . . .
               .  .  . 

The entire Szymborska-poem is may be found here at the website "Famous Poets and Poems" and also here in an online pdf of the booklet Numbers and Faces:  A Collection of Poems with Mathematical Imagery -- a collection that I edited on behalf of the Humanistic Mathematics Network.

This link connects to a list of previous blog-posts of Pi-related poems. 

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Celebrating Women who write Mathy Poems

       Now in March -- in Women's History Month -- many writers are taking a bit of extra time to explore the history and achievements of women.  It was my delight to find a March 6 posting here on the Poetry Blogging Network with a list of celebrated women in poetry that includes several writers of mathy poems.  Of the ten poets listed, the following five have been included in this blog -- in earlier postings.  For each, I include a mathy sample and the poet's name is linked to earlier postings that include their work.

     Adrienne Rich   from Planetarium 

             a woman      ‘in the snow     
             among the Clocks and instruments              
             or measuring the ground with poles  

            in her 98 years to discover    
            8 comets

Monday, March 4, 2024

Multiple Meanings -- in Poetry, Math, and Jokes

     One of the challenging AND enriching qualities of both mathematics and poetry is the multiplicity of meanings that particular expressions may have. This quality also is found in jokes -- and in the Math Blog of MIT math-scholar Tanya Khovanova I recently enjoyed some entertaining mathy riddle-jokes and below I offer a sample: 


Here is a link to Khovanova's complete blog-posting.  Enjoy!

For biographical and contact information for Khovanova, here is a link to her webpage -- and here aa link to her poem "Nerdy Wedding" and, finally, a link to an earlier posting of her work in this blog.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

A poem-title that drew me in -- "Calculus I, II, III"

      A poetry event that I often enjoy is the posting by the Academy of American Poets of a poem-a-day -- today's poem is found here  and  information about the posting is found here at Poets.org.  my background in mathematics helped me to be especially pleased early this month (on 2/2) when the daily poem (written by poet and artist Brad Walrond) was entitled "Calculus I, II, III" -- and if offers reflection on different levels of learning.  Below I offer a few lines from the poem; the complete poem is available at this link.

from     Calculus I, II, and III    by Brad Walrond

      . . .    this calculus

     —how one body
     relates to another—

     that disturbs all the peace

     is the same as learning
     their one two threes       . . .

   Copyright © 2024 by Brad Walrond.   Read more here.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Shaping poems with Pascal's Triangle

      One of my favorite websites to visit is "Poetry and Mathematics" -- a blog from poet Marian Christie.  Today I focus on her posting of poems with word-lengths structured by Pascal's Triangle; here is a sample:


Christie's complete Pascal Triangle posting -- with a triangle for each season -- is available at this link

Monday, February 19, 2024

Mathematician, Poet -- Blind to the worth of Women

     As we study mathematics and learn of outstanding mathematicians, many of us do not also learn which of those mathematicians also were poets.  A posting that I found recently in Marian Christie's blog, Poetry and Mathematics, features poetry by  Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell (1831-39).

     Maxwell's verse also is featured in the math-poetry anthology, Strange Attractors:  Poems of Love and Mathematics (A.K Peters, Ltd., 2008);  preview available here at amazon.com.

     Below I offer a stanza from a Maxwell poem (posted in this blog back in December, 2015) -- a stanza that shows the long-mistaken attitude that has existed about inferior abilities of math-women: 

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Poems of Math -- from a teacher and his students

      Occasionally I Google the pair "mathematics, poetry" to see what a web search can find for me.  Many of the sites found this way are familiar -- including this blog and poetry I have cited herein.  But a few days ago I found a new site -- posted by the New England Literary Resource Center and featuring poems by a GED teacher Phillip Howard (at the Adult Literacy Center at Dorchester, MA) and his students.  Howard asks his students to write poems about math as a way of communicating their accomplishments and frustrations.   Here is the poem that Howard offers his students; their responses are collected here

       Me & Math       by  Phillip Howard

          I have a problem … a math problem
          Math is always throwing problems at me
          I solve 1 and Boom   Math throws a harder 1
          A Brain Buster … so I rage
          But I can’t GIVE UP MATH
          Math is in my blood … PROBLEMS CALL 2 ME
          I want 2 BREAK THE HABIT … but I can’t
          So I push MATH
          I push on the WEB
          I push on the STREETS
          I push in the CLASS
          I push MATH 2 YOU
          So YOU 2 have a MATH PROBLEM

Monday, February 12, 2024

Math Poems for Students of All Ages

      In my recent use of Google -- in search of mathy poems -- I came across this website:  38 Math Poems for Students in All Grade Levels (a featured page at weareteachers.com).  It contains these words:

"Poetry can transforms kids’ attitudes about math exponentially!"

Here's a sample.

And here is  a link to more about poet Rebecca Kai Dotlich.


Thursday, February 8, 2024

Rules that someone made up -- Is that MATH?

      As frequent readers of this blog know, I am indebted to many people for their contributions of poems -- their own and links to others.  An alert to today's poem came from Canadian poet Alice Major -- with previous contibutions to this blog found at this link.   The poem, "BOUNDARY CONDITIONS"  by Sneha Madhavan-Reese was published in the journal Rattle I offer, below, its opening and closing stanzas, followed by a link to the complete poem.

from   BOUNDARY CONDITIONS     by   Sneha Madhavan-Reese

                    who but men blame the angels for the wild
                           exceptionalism of men?   
 —Sam Sax, “Anti-Zionist Abecedarian”

       Along the border of any governed region, there exists a value which must
       satisfy its laws. This is a rule I learned for solving differential equations.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Going to Mars -- film profile of poet Nikki Giovanni

     Poet Nikki Giovanni is someone I much admire -- for her poetry and for her activism -- and recently I had had a chance to see the documentary film "Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project."  I valued learning more about Giovanni's life and was reminded to revisit her poetry.   In her 1975 collection, The Woman and the Men (of which I have an autographed copy), I re-found her poem "The Way I Feel" and I offer below its mathy final stanza during this 2024 leap year.   

from  THE WAY I FEEL   by Nikki Giovanni

            in my mind you're a clock
            and i'm the second hand sweeping
            around you sixty times an hour
            twenty-four hours a day
            three-hundred-sixty-five days a year
            and an extra day
            in leap year
            cause that's the way
            that's the way
            that's the way i feel
            about you

from The Women and the Men (William Morrow & Company, New York, 1975)

Friday, February 2, 2024

Distance and Time

        Poetry 180 was a project initiated back in 2002 by the poet laureate Billy Collins -- a project with the goal of providing for students a thoughtful and accessible poem for each day of the school year.  A recent email alerted me to a slightly mathy poem within that collection -- Poem 081, "After Years" by Iowa poet Ted Kooser (also a former US poet laureate);  I offer Kooser's poem below.

From Solo: A Journal of Poetry, 1996.

Today, February 2, is Groundhog Day.  Celebrate the day with some poems

Monday, January 29, 2024

Women in Math -- Don't Hide Them!!

     In the days and years since my schooling, the numbers of math-women have increased and their public recognition also has increased.  But not enough!  This list of 18 remarkable women in STEM includes only one math-woman  AND. here are several book-seller links to explore: 

Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World
30 Remarkable Women in Science and Math
The First Woman in Space: Valentina Tereshkova
20 Greatest Mathematicians: Masters of Mathematics from the Past, Present, Future

     A very important math-influence in my life was my high school math teacher for my junior and senior years, Laura Church.  Today, exploring the internet, searching for her name, I found only this memorial statement and, although it tells of her teaching at Indiana Joint High School, it does not mention that her teaching-subject was math.  Here is a stanza that celebrates her:  

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Mathematical Wellness

      As I read this poem, I was reminded of attitudes toward mathematics:

by poet Sunil Singh, from Words
 

Friday, January 19, 2024

Films about math and math-people

    One of my recent finds has been an article that offers a list of 20 films about math, mathematicians, and math-geniuses.  Eagerly, I opened the article to read about the films and to see which of them also involved poetry.  ALAS, I did not find that these math-people connected with poetry.  Following that non-find, I turned to a favorite source of mathy poems to discover something to post.

    That favorite source is Against Infinity, edited by Ernest Robson and Jet Wimp (Primary Press, 1979 and now out of print); this collection has been on my shelf for many years and is the first math-poetry anthology that I ever encountered.  Here is a poem from that collection, written by a Missouri high school senior, Carol Clark.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Poetry at the Joint Mathematics Meetings

        During January 4-7, 2024, mathematics meetings were held in San Francisco, CA.  Although unable to attend, I have spent some time browsing abstracts of the presentations there and found several that involve poetry.  Suzanne Sumner of the University of Mary Washington, gave a presentation entitled "How Poetry Informs the History of Mathematics" and here is a link to the abstract for Sumner's presenation.

     From Sumner's abstract I learn that the ancient Sanskrit scholar Acharya Pingala was likely to have been the first to use Fibonacci numbers and Pascal's triangle in his poetry. Using this blog's SEARCH feature, I found this link to prior mentions of Fibonacci in this blog and this link to mentions of Pascal.

Friday, January 12, 2024

A Mathy-Poetic Quote

     Recently my thoughts have turned often to these mathy-poetic words by Danish-American comedian-musician Victor Borge (1909-2000):

Laughter is the
shortest distance
between two people.

*  *  *  *

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Thinking with my fingers . . .

Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992)

This quote from science fiction writer Isaac Asimov is found here along with other related views.  For me also -- with poetry or math or some other subject -- writing is an important thinking strategy:  my fingers with my pen lead me to new ideas.  And counting syllables shapes my words like this:

 I
start with
just a few
words -- and write them --
AND my fingers help
to develop my thoughts.


Saturday, January 6, 2024

Many accessible MATHY POEMS -- from BRIDGES

      One of the wonderful supporters of connections between mathematics and the arts has been BRIDGES, a conference-gathering that was initiated by Reza Sarhanghi (1952-2016) in 1998.  

     Here, at the BRIDGES website, one may find information about the upcoming 2024 conference.  This website also offers -- via the link Papers Archive -- access to conference papers from 1998 to 2023.  

     Poetry became part of the conference in 2011 and, at the link Mathematical Poetry, we are taken to a website maintained by math-poet Sarah Glaz -- a website that offers access to a vast and wonderful collection of poems, anthologies, recordings, videos, . . .

   Below I include an anthology sample, a very fine poem by Deanna Nikaido from the Bridges Stockholm 2018 Anthology.

     Ratio     by Deanna Nikaido

          They say there are two sides to everything.  

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Student Contests -- Essays, Poems -- Due by Feb. 1

 STUDENTS – Middle School, High School, College

    Write a Mathy POEM

             OR

    Interview a Math-Woman, write an ESSAY                                 about her

Entries are being accepted now – and up to FEBRUARY 1, 2024.

Information about the MATH-POETRY competition is available here.

Information about the MATH-WOMAN ESSAY CONTEST is available here.


Saturday, December 30, 2023

The true spirit of delight . . .

As the year ends, remembering an important truth . . .


 The true spirit of delight, the exultation,

the sense of being more than man,

which is the touchstone of the highest excellence,

is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry.


Bertrand Russell (1972-1970)

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

A Christmas-tree poem

As I enjoy the brightness that Christmas tree lights bring to a grey day, I am reminded of the following poem by Brian Bilston, found on Twitter (X) early in December:

Previous mentions of Brian Bilston in this blog may be found at this link.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Counting on Christmas . . .

      One of my favorite memories of Christmas when I was a child involves recitation -- with family or classmates -- of this holiday rhyme, "The Twelve Days of Christmas."  I include a few lines below, and a here is a link to the entire poem:

       On the first day of Christmas,
       my true love sent to me
       A partridge in a pear tree.

       On the second day of Christmas,
       my true love sent to me
       Two turtle doves,
       And a partridge in a pear tree.

       On the third day of Christmas,
       my true love sent to me
       Three French hens,
       Two turtle doves,
       And a partridge in a pear tree.

       On the fourth day of Christmas,
       my true love sent to me
       Four calling birds,
       Three French hens,
       Two turtle doves,
       And a partridge in a pear tree.                   
            . . .                                                             Read more here.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Explore a new idea by writing a poem . . .

      Often I try to unravel the intricacies of a new idea by writing -- using communication with my fingers as steps toward understanding.  And when I found the poem below (here at the website VIA NEGATIVA) I saw it also as a poem of discovery -- and I offer it to you:

Every Line Intersects the Line
                           at Infinity at Some Point                       
by Luisa A. Igloria

"Out of nothing I have created a strange new universe."   - János Bolyai (1802-1860)

The optometrist asks you to look into 
the autorefractor: two dark lines form 

a road that stretches from where you sit
to a red barn at the horizon. If your brain 

tells you that you're looking at a point 
at infinity rather than just mere inches away, 

it helps the eyes focus. Things have to end 
somewhere, don't they? In projective geometry, 

Monday, December 11, 2023

Stories of Women and Girls in Science

The website for Agnes Scott College has a wonderful collection of biographies of math women  -- and today I focus particularly on the story of mathematician Marie-Sophie Germain (1776-1831).   I quote below a few words about Germain:

Sophie began teaching herself mathematics using the books in her father's library. Her parents felt that her interest was inappropriate for a female (the common belief of the middle-class in the 19th century) and did all that they could to discourage her.  

Related to the idea expressed in this quote is a thoughtful poem about Germain by Colorado poet Jessy Randall;  the poem is part of Randall's very special collection Mathematics for Ladies, Goldsmiths Press, 2022 and I offer it below:

Friday, December 8, 2023

A Must-Read Journal -- Humanistic Mathematics

    One of the very special online resources for connections between mathematics and poetry (and also other art forms) is the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics.  Edited by California mathematicians Mark Huber of Claremont McKenna College and Gizem Karaali of Pomona College, this free-access journal has online issues published each six months -- available here.

     Poetry of many different forms is available in JHM -- and a poem from the January, 2023 issue that I enjoyed rereading recently is "Mathematics" by Northwestern Math Professor Kim Regnier Jongerius -- a poem inspired by the song "Memories" from the musical Cats and describing some of the joys and frustrations inherent in doing mathematical work.  I offer one of its stanzas below and I invite you to go here (to the JHM website) to read more.

     from    Mathematics     by Kim Regnier Jongerius

     Mathematics!
     I must wait for an insight
     Try to think of connections
     That I haven't before.
     When the day breaks with no solution coming to me
     Then my courage sinks to the floor.

Enjoy all six stanzas of the poem here in JHM.

THANK YOU, Jongerius and JHM for sharing thought-provoking words.

Monday, December 4, 2023

Should I take notes?

One of the things about my learning process that I was not fully aware of during many of my school years was the role that my fingers play in my thinking and learning.  Taking notes -- as I read or as I listen to a teacher's presentation -- helps the ideas to become part of me, even if i do not reread and study the notes afterward.

A Fib about how I think and learn

When I began writing poetry I started to notice that my fingers also became part of the creative writing process . ..  sometimes my fingers wrote words before my mind knew them.  And I loved these discoveries!

Is this writing-thinking link also part of you?

Friday, December 1, 2023

The First Thing . . .

Found in a posting on November 26 on Twitter the following thoughtful lines -- featuring counting -- by poet and editor Dr. Maya C. Popa,

Monday, November 27, 2023

A Proof in a Poem . . .

     I was led to this information by a recent (11/23/23) posting by @OxUniMaths on  𝕏 (at https://twitter.com/home)

     Mathematicians Germano Cardano and Nicolo Tartaglia  lived in Italy in the 16th century.  When Cardano tried to persuade Tartaglia to tell him the solution method for  to cubic equations, he received a description that he calls a poem. Andrew Wiles discusses this situation in a YouTube video, as part of his talk on the Langlands program.  The posting by @OxUniMaths on  𝕏 offers a brief section of that talk -- and includes this translation (from the original Italian) of Tartaglia's poem:

Tartaglia considers solving a cubic

To the right (above), Wiles has noted a symbolic translation of Tartaglia's words.  In his discussion of the poem, Wiles also notes that back in the 16th century all math was written using words.  

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Write about a MATH-WOMAN -- and WIN!

     Years ago -- when I was the only woman in the Bloomsburg University mathematics department --  I wrote a poem, "My Dance is Mathematics," about the mathematician Emmy Noether -- and it contained the following lines:

               If a woman's dance is mathematics,
               She dances alone.

But things are changing!  Founded in 1971, AWM (Association for Women in Mathematics) has been actively celebrating the lives of female mathematicians  -- and one of AWM's current and far-reaching activities is a STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST for which students -- in middle-school, high-school, and college categories -- are invited to interview a female mathematician and write about her.  The essay-submission period is December 1, 2023 - February 1, 2024.  Questions may be directed to AWM Essay Contest Organizer, Dr. Johanna Franklin (johanna.n.franklin@hofstra.edu). 

Monday, November 13, 2023

ADDING -- a List Poem

      Via an X (Twitter) posting by poet and blogger Marian Christie (@marian_v_o), I learned about a blog by writer Mike Ferguson entitled Gravy from the Gazebo -- available at this link.  Ferguson has posted a series of mathy list poems -- starting on November 10 with "Adding list poem".  The poem's opening lines are offered below and the complete poem is found at this link

The poem is introduced with these words:   Love a list poem, this is my latest – the kind of content and ideas I would like to introduce to students for writing their own:

Opening lines of a poem by Mike Ferguson -- the rest is here.

Ferguson next offered more lists: "Subtracting list poem" at this link AND "Multiplying list poem" at this link AND "Dividing list poem" at this link.

Read.  Reread.  Share.  Write your poetic response.  Share!

Thursday, November 9, 2023

A Mathy-Poetic Trajectory

      Carol Dorf is a retired math teacher and poet -- and at New Verse News I have discovered one of her recent mathy poems, "TRAJECTORY," posted on 10/09/2023.   I offer its opening lines below.

from   TRAJECTORY     by Carol Dorf

          The problem set gives us: a stone, force, an angle.
          Given this, predict when the stone will hit the ground.
          Outside the book this problem grows more complex
          even if there are no dragons to interfere with the trajectory.
          Imagine a missile. No don’t. There’s no need to imagine:
          haven’t you opened the paper today? Imagine a war
          where children’s bodies form the location of the necessary
          violence. Don’t authorities always say necessary?

                . . . . .              Dorf's complete TRAJECTORY is available at this link.

Carol Dorf is a Zoeglossia fellow, whose poetry has been published in several chapbooks and in a wide variety of journals; and she is a founding poetry editor of Talking Writing.  

Here is a link to the New Verse News website -- a collection of many, many poems.  This link leads to poems at that site by Carol Dorf, including "Trajectory." 

Monday, November 6, 2023

Take a Tour -- of Mathy Poems

       Recently I have discovered (at the website of the American Mathematical Society, AMS) a blog posting that features my blog.  Entitled "A Tour of Intersections:  Poetry with Mathematics," the posting by math and science writer Rachel Crowell.  Below I post a sample:

"MATH WOMAN"  -- acrostic poem by JoAnne Growney


AND . . .  readers are invited to EXPLORE THIS  BLOG for more!
AND
CREATE mathy poems!  and share them with joannegrowney (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Upcoming AMS Math-Poetry Contest

 Middle School Students

High School Students

College Students

Share YOUR POEMS via the 2024 Math-Poetry Contest

sponsored by the American Mathematical Society

Submit between November 27, 2023 and February 1, 2024

Detailed instructions for contest entries are found AT THIS LINK!  

Thursday, October 26, 2023

The Thirst to Know HOW MANY?

    One of the important math-poetry projects that I have been involved in is Strange Attractors:  Poems of Love and Mathematics, a poetry anthology collected and edited by mathematician-poet Sarah Glaz and me -- published by AK Peters/CRC Press in 2008 and now available on Kindle and at various online used-book sites.

     A poem in Strange Attractors that I have been drawn to again recently is "Ode to Numbers" by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1904-1973).  Here are its opening lines: 

from  Ode to Numbers     by Pablo Neruda

          Oh, the thirst to know
          how many!
          The hunger
          to know
          how many
          stars in the sky!   

Monday, October 23, 2023

Zero Man of India

     An interesting story that Google led me to is told in this article about "Zero Man of India" --  the article tells of  Shahbaz Khan, famously known as Shahbaz Hakbari, a multifaceted individual with talent in poetry, prose, mathematics, and education -- well-educated AND he he is a widely celebrated teacher.

"Mathematics and poetry may seem like two different worlds, but both require creativity, imagination, and thinking outside the box," Shahbaz Khan explained.

The article "Zero Man of India" contains many mentions of Khan/Hakbari's life as a poet -- but has no poems.  Nonetheless, the phrases quoted are poetic -- and, below, I have given two of them the shapes of  poems.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Remembering Louise Gluck

        Poet-Laureate of the United States (2003-2004), winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature, Louise Glück died recently.  (10/13/23)  (A biographical sketch and many of Glück's  poems are available here at poets.org.)  The quotation below -- sharing her desire "to make something never heard before"  -- links closely to the desires of those of us in mathematics, to create the new.

A quote given with Gluck's obituary in The Washington Post

This 2020 blog posting features Gluck's "Parable of the Swans" and here, at poetryfoundation.org, is "A Fable" -- a poem about two women and one baby.