Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mathematics, like poetry, is ART

Doing mathematics is often misunderstood as primarily computation--an error that seems equivalent to seeing poetry writing as primarily a spelling exercise. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Poetry with mathematical symbols

On the internet and elsewhere a variety of viewpoints are expressed about the criteria poetry should satisfy to be "mathematical." Today I want to introduce samples and links for three writers:   Bob Grumman (Florida), Gregory Vincent St Thomasino (New York), and Kaz Maslanka (California).  Grumman and Maslanka write poems with a strong visual element and, as the blogs and comments for all three testify, they differ in their views of what may be properly called "mathematical" poetry..

Friday, June 18, 2010

Three poems with the word "axiom"

Poems that contain  "number" are numerous; those with "axiom" are less easily found.  Here are 3 of them -- by 19th century American poet, Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), by Canadian poet and fiction writer, Margaret Atwood (b 1939), and by a poet from Virginia, Lesley Wheeler, whose work I recently have come to know.  I particularly enjoy Lesley's poems about parenthood--because they ring true and also because when I was a parent of young children I was not finding time to write.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Send your math-poems to QUARC

Canadian journal seeks submissions from poets or fiction writers whose work makes use of metaphors from the sciences or engages scientific themes.  Deadline: September 1, 2010.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Girls and Mathematics

In Indiana, Pennsylvania, my senior high school advanced math teacher was Laura Church--a Barnard College graduate and a flamboyant silver-haired woman who never let any of us suppose that girls could not do mathematics. In college my science scholarship kept me from fleeing mathematics to study literature when I was the only girl in my classes.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Square comment on shoe styles

     Recently I have returned to Silver Spring from a trip to Latvia, traveling with a friend who was born there.  My effort to find poetry with mathematics there was stymied by the fact that little Latvian literature has been translated into English.   
     The Latvian capital, Riga, is a charming city--and its cobblestone streets do not deter women from wearing elegant tall-heeled shoes.  The sight of them reminded me of a little poem I wrote a few years ago--a square poem--which comments on this stylish sort of shoe (in which I've never been able to walk). 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Celebrate Martin Gardner (1914-2010)

Martin Gardner described his relationship to poetry as that of "occasional versifier" -- he is the author, for example, of:

     π goes on and on
     And e is just as cursed
     I wonder, how does π begin
     When its digits are reversed?