Monday, November 7, 2011

Mathematician-Poet Glaz

     Sarah Glaz, a professor-mathematician at the University of Connecticut -- and a poet -- is at the forefront of appreciation and advocacy of mathematics as an art and closely connected to other arts, particularly poetry.  Her webpage offers more than a hundred links to "Undergraduate Resources; Math Links for Information and Fun" and to scholarly articles that offer teachers and students math-poetry ideas to ponder carefully.  This link, for example goes to an article entitled "The Poetry of Prime Numbers" that Glaz presented at the Bridges 2011 Conference in Portugal.
     One of my favorites of Glaz' poems is this one whose structure relies on the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic (see note following the poem).  Here is "January 2009"  :

13            January 2009      by Sarah Glaz

12=22x3       Anuk is dying for Anuk is dying in the white of winter
11               The coldest month
10=2x5        Anuk is dying in the falling snow
9=32            The white of winter for Anuk is dying
8=23            Anuk is dying for the white of winter
7                 The drift of time
6=2x3          Anuk is dying in the white of winter
5                 The falling snow
4=22            Anuk is dying for Anuk is dying
3                 The white of winter
2                 Anuk is dying
1                 ·

    "January 2009" first appeared in Recursive Angel, (May/June, 2011) along with the following note:
The poem's structure follows The Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic, which states that every positive integer greater than one may be expressed in a unique way as a product of powers of distinct prime numbers. This technique first appeared in Carl Andre's poem, "On the Sadness" (Numerals 1924-1977, Yale University Art Gallery Catalog Exhibit, 1978).  
     Andre's poem also appears in the anthology  Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics (A K Peters, 2008) -- edited by Sarah Glaz and me.    Poetry by Glaz appears also in these postings:  18 April 2011, 23 April 2010 and 31 March 2011 (a translation from Romanian,  poetry by Ion Barbu).

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