Saturday, July 19, 2014

Mathematicians are not free to say . . .

The poetry of a mathematician is constrained by the definitions she knows from mathematics.  Even though all but one of the prime integers is odd, she cannot use the words "prime" and "odd" as if they are interchangeable.  She cannot use the words "rectangle" and "box" as synonyms.  But the ways that non-math poets dare to engage with math words can be delightful to mathematical ears and eyes.  For example:

       The Wasp on the Golden Section     by Katy Didden

       The best route is just above
       the straightest line between two points.

       There are arcs everywhere
       in the air.

I met Katy and her poems at a reading at The Writer's Center in Bethesda late in June.  "The Wasp on the Golden Section" is found in The Glacier's Wake (Plieades Press, 2013).  Katy's reading partner was poet Stephanie Strickland who has appeared in this blog earlier.  Watch for an upcoming posting related to Strickland's recent poetry collection Dragon Logic.

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