Thursday, December 9, 2010

8 January 2011 -- Math-Poetry at JMM

Here's an invitation for math-poets -- at 5 PM on Saturday, January 8 at the 2011 Joint Mathematics Meetings in New Orleans there will be an open reading of poetry related to mathematics.  All are invited.  Interested persons are invited to contact Gizem Karaali of Pomona College for more information. 
     The 2011 Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM) will be held January 6-9, 2011 at the New Orleans Marriott and Sheraton New Orleans Hotels.  The Saturday poetry reading is the final event in an afternoon-long program entitled "MAA Session on Humanistic Mathematics."  The complete listing of presentations during this session is available at this link within the conference program:
       Saturday January 8, 2011, 1:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
       MAA Session on Humanistic Mathematics, I    
       Mardi Gras BC, 3rd Floor, Marriott
       Organizers:   Gizem Karaali, Pomona College;       
          Mark Huber, Claremont McKenna; Dagan Karp, Harvey Mudd 
This session and another on Sunday, January 9, celebrate the revival of the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics which builds on a tradition begun by Alvin White (1925-2009).  Alvin White was a beautiful man, a good friend, and a strong voice speaking out for the humanistic aspects of mathematics.  He is the "I" of whom Edwin Markam (1852-1940)  spoke in the final couplet of his poem "Outwitted":

     He drew a circle that shut me out--
     Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
     But Love and I had the wit to win:
     We drew a circle that took him in!

Back in the 1980s, Alvin White first introduced me to the poetry of the Czech poet-scientist, Miroslav Holub (1923-1998) and he has become one of my favorite poets also.  Here, dedicated to Alvin White, is one of Holub's "mathematical" poems.

     Parallels Syndrome     by Miroslav Holub

     Two parallels
     always meet
     when we draw them ourselves.

     The question is,
     or behind us.

     Whether the train in the distance
     is coming
     or going.

"Parallels Syndrome" (translated by David Young and Dana Habova) is taken from Intensive Care:  Selected and New Poems (FIELD Translation Series 22, Oberlin College Press 1996).  For additional poetry by Miroslav Holub, you may visit also these postings: August 19April 28, and March 30.

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