Friday, May 6, 2011

Permuting words and and enumerating poems

Caleb Emmons teaches mathematics at Pacific University.  Here is his very-clever description of the requirements for a poem to be a sestina -- spelled out in a poem that is itself a sestina.  (A sestina has 39 lines and its form depends on 6 words -- arrangements of which are the end-words of 6 6-line stanzas; these same words also appear, 2 per line, in the final 3-line stanza.) 

(Click on Emmons' poem to enlarge.)

In addition to his poetry, a clever thing Emmons has done is to create a Poetry Enumerator which, he claims, has numbered all poems.  I entered a 3x3 square poem (posted on 7 October 2010 ) as input for the Enumerator:

      There is no
      place to throw

      that's away.  

This was the result:

You have entered poem #619168592018643320097013106105231493
58355043429112106537748344162066 0744559209746465

Try the Poetry Enumerator with one of your poems!

1 comment:

  1. Caleb shared this poem at the poetry reading during the 2010 joint math meeting in New Orleans. I am so happy to see it in full!