Sunday, March 10, 2013

Celebrate 3.14 with poems of Pi

     Soon this year's version of the date 3.14 will arrive.  Pi-day!
     At the 2012 Bridges Conference in Towson MD I had the opportunity to hear "Art of π," a presentation by Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya that told of ways that the special number π has inspired artists and writers.  This blog has previously celebrated π -- for example on 6 September 2010 (featuring work by Kate Bush,  Robert Morgan and Wislawa Szymborska),  10 September 2010 (mnemonics for π, especially from Mike Keith) , 15 March, 2011,(a poem by Lana Hechtman Ayers)  27 November 2011 (a poem by Brian McCabe). 
     Bonch-Osmolovska's paper included this link to to papers (mostly in Russian)   that feature π;  among them are links to additional work by Mike Keith.  His 2010 collection Not a Wake (of poetry, short stories, a play, puzzles, and so on) is built using words whose numbers of letters embody the digits of  π for 10000 digits.  Here, learned from Bonch-Osmolovskaya, is a link to Keith's Cadaeic Cadenza, a "short story" of 4000 words whose lengths follow the digits of π.  (Keith calls this language "Pilish" -- learn more about it here.)
     Poet Peter Meinke pays tribute to π in his poem, "3.141592 . . . ";  I offer the opening stanzas below -- and the complete poem is available in the collection Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics (A K Peters, 2008, edited by Sarah Glaz and me).  In addition to hardback, this collection is also available (from CRC Press) as an e-book.

     3.141592 . . .       by Peter Meinke      

     In school I was attracted
     to irrational numbers
     stretched out like variable stars

     across an expanding void . . .

     They're just trouble Miss MacDougall
     said trying to lure me back
     to a over b  something above zero
     we could get hold of

     solid as carrots and good for our eyes

     but I was a born radical

        . . .

Here is a link to Bob Grumman's March 9 posting on the Scientific American Guest blogs.  Bob included several poems from the above-mentioned anthology, Strange Attractors -- including a poem of mine, "A Taste of Mathematics" (formerly entitled "San Antonio, January, 1993).

No comments:

Post a Comment