Last month I went to the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History -- for a photo scroll down to the end of this post -- and that visit provoked me to begin searching for the term "hyperbolic" in poems. I came close when I found "hyperbola" in a poem by Jonathan Holden and hyperbole in a sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
Jonathan Holden's poem "Sex and Mathematics" begins with these lines:
Making love we assume
may be defined by the equation
for the hyperbola y = 1/x . . .
The well-known "Sonnet XLIII" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-61) demonstrates hyperbole throughout; it begins thus:
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, . . .
Holden's and Browning's poems both are found in the anthology, Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics (A K Peters, 2008). Extensive online searching did not help me to find others. For example, at the vast Poetry Foundation website I found only two poems containing the word "hyperbolic" -- and neither had a connection to mathematics.
One of my own poems ("Geometry Demonstration," posted 15 October 2010) uses the term; here are the pertinent lines (spoken by a teacher trying to stir reluctant students) from stanza 2.
Your mind won't get dirty
on a tangent of hyperbolic thought.
Thousands of women around the world have contributed
to the HYPERBOLIC CROCHET CORAL REEFS exhibit -- these encourage all of us
to become aware of our world's fragility, particularly our coral reefs.