Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Start with a number . . .

     April celebrates both poetry and mathematics -- this month that is the gateway to spring is also National Poetry Month and Mathematics Awareness Month (with theme "Mathematics, Statistics, and the Data Deluge").
     Last month (March 22-25), mathematics and poetry met at the DC Poetry Festival, Split this Rock where several of us gathered for a workshop, "Counting On" -- where writers were encouraged to use a number (or numbers) as a focal point for a poem. During the workshop hour, several of us picked numbers that mattered to us and started the process of forming a poem; here are lines from Sonja deVries, Yael Flusberg, Janine Harrison, Jaime Lee Jarvis, Margaret Rozga, and me.

   Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Teens
   are 3 times more likely to attempt suicide
   than their heterosexual peers. 

   Only 3% of what Americans read had been originally written
   in a language other than English; 
   even fewer read the language of whales or songbirds.

   As many as 5000 from Juarez – taken.  Girls deemed
   “prostitutes,” deemed “addicts,” deemed “zero”
   (at a ground zero) in authority’s eyes.

   In your 17th year the city that nourished me 
   showed you your mother’s blood.

   20,000 people are stationed at Bagram.
   90% of Wisconsin towns have 
   populations under 20,000.
   Maybe 95 %.

   There are 6 times as many black men
   in US jails today as
   white men.

   More than 14 times as many service members died 
   in Iraq and Afghanistan as there are members 
   of the US House of Representatives.

When you follow the number, where does it lead  . . . ?

Other postings that have spotlighted the recent Split This Rock Poetry Festival include 16 February 2012 and 5 February 2012.  And check out other poetry conversations happening this National Poetry Month at Couplets where poet and blogger Joanne Merriam is featuring a guided tour of a variety of poetry blogs.

No comments:

Post a Comment