This year's math-arts conference, Bridges 2014, was in Korea. And a dozen of us who write poetry-with-mathematics -- unable to attend in person -- worked with coordinator Sarah Glaz to offer (on August 16, hosted by Mike Naylor) a virtual reading of work videotaped in advance by the poets and edited into a coherent whole by Steve Stamps.

The virtual reading is here on YouTube.

## Saturday, August 30, 2014

## Wednesday, August 27, 2014

### Grandma Got STEM

It was my good fortune last weekend to meet the sister-in-law of one of my neighbors, mathematician and Harvey Mudd professor, Rachel Levy. Levy is also a blogger and her postings in Grandma Got
STEM tell of achievements of women in science.

I have looked for a poem to pair with my mention here of Grandma Got STEM. Although the following poem by Tami Haaland (found at the Poetry Foundation website) is not mathematical, it nicely brings to life a relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter -- and we wish for both of them "places to explore beyond the frame."

She’s with Grandma in front

of Grandma’s house, backed

by a willow tree, gladiola and roses.

Who did she ever want

to please? But Grandma

seems half-pleased and annoyed.

I have looked for a poem to pair with my mention here of Grandma Got STEM. Although the following poem by Tami Haaland (found at the Poetry Foundation website) is not mathematical, it nicely brings to life a relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter -- and we wish for both of them "places to explore beyond the frame."

**Little Girl**by Tami HaalandShe’s with Grandma in front

of Grandma’s house, backed

by a willow tree, gladiola and roses.

Who did she ever want

to please? But Grandma

seems half-pleased and annoyed.

Labels:
explore,
frame,
Grandma,
Rachel Levy,
STEM,
Tami Haaland

## Saturday, August 23, 2014

### Changing colors, counting syllables

**Changing Colors**

by JoAnne Growney

Blue

yoyo --

awkwardly

stopping-starting,

rising-plummeting,

seeking self-control. Please,

mother-friend-lover-child, don't

pull string. Let me collect myself.

I lift myself to the treetops,

soar with the golden eagle,

find rest on fleecy clouds.

My orb embraces

everybody --

powerful,

yellow

sun.

## Tuesday, August 19, 2014

### Poetry in Math Journals

*The Mathematical Intelligencer*(publisher of the poem by Gizem Karaali given below) and the

*Journal of Humanistic Mathematics*(an online, open-access journal edited by Mark Huber and Gizem Karaali) are periodicals that include math-related poetry in each issue. For example, in the most recent issue of JHM, we have these titles:

**Articles**:

Joining the mathematician's delirium to the poet's logic'': Mathematical Literature and Literary Mathematics by Rita Capezzi and Christine Kinsey

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways for Syllabic Variation in Certain Poetic Forms by Mike Pinter

**Poems:**

Computational Compulsions by Martin Cohen

Jeffery's Equation by Sandra J. Stein

The Math of Achilles by Geoffrey A. Landis

And here, from Gizem Karaali, is a poetic view of the process of mathematical discovery: the blank white page, the muddy flow of thoughts, the clarity that eventually (sometimes) blooms:

## Friday, August 15, 2014

### My best dream is floating . . .

Today I want to urge you to visit several sites in addition to my blog. For example, there is the recent announcement of 2014 Fields Medal (equivalent to a Nobel prize) winners -- the four winners include the first female mathematician (Maryam Mirzakhani) ever to be selected as a Fields Medalist (equivalent to a Nobel Prize) and a mathematician who loves poetry (Manjul Bhargava).

With the help of a "Google Alert" I found a YouTube video of Alexandria Marie reading "The Mathematics of Heartbreak" at a Dallas Poetry Slam. A link in an email from Texas computer scientist, Dylan Shell, alerted me to these mathematical lyrics (new words for old tunes) in a

As we have been floating from topic to topic, it may be apt to end with the final stanza of my relevantly titled poem:

With the help of a "Google Alert" I found a YouTube video of Alexandria Marie reading "The Mathematics of Heartbreak" at a Dallas Poetry Slam. A link in an email from Texas computer scientist, Dylan Shell, alerted me to these mathematical lyrics (new words for old tunes) in a

*mathbabe*posting by Cathy O'Neill.As we have been floating from topic to topic, it may be apt to end with the final stanza of my relevantly titled poem:

## Monday, August 11, 2014

### Narrated by a mathematician

Recently translated by Adam Morris, the novel

The cross on my brow

The facts of what I was

Of what I will be:

I was born a mathematician, a magician

I was born a poet.

*With My Dog-Eyes*(Melville House, 2014) by Brazilian writer Hilda Hilst (1930-2004) is narrated by a mathematician-poet. That fact of narration is what first drew me to the book. (See also this July 3 posting.) And then there is (related in Morris's introduction to the translation) Hilst's sad life, perhaps mirrored in her characters. These are the opening lines from the novel's narrator:The cross on my brow

The facts of what I was

Of what I will be:

I was born a mathematician, a magician

I was born a poet.

Labels:
Adam Morris,
edges,
faces,
Hlda Hilst,
magician,
mathematician,
poet,
polyhedron,
vertices

## Friday, August 8, 2014

### Squaring the Circle

Reminding us of the ancient unsolvable problem that so many attempted, the July/August 2014 issue of

from

It's a little-known fact that God's headgear --

A magician's collapsible silk top hat,

When viewed from Earth, from the bottom up

Is,

A pluperfect halo, both circle and square,

. . .

*Poetry*Magazine contains "Squaring the Circle," a poem by Philip Fried. Here are the opening lines; please follow the*Poetry*Magazine link above to enjoy the full poem.from

**Squaring the Circle**by Philip FriedIt's a little-known fact that God's headgear --

A magician's collapsible silk top hat,

When viewed from Earth, from the bottom up

Is,

*sub specie aeternitatis*,A pluperfect halo, both circle and square,

. . .

Two previous posts that also consider the circle-squaring problem include 10 May 2010 and 21 April 2010.

Labels:
circle,
mathematics,
Philip Fried,
poem,
POETRY Magazine,
problem,
square,
squaring the circle,
unsolvable

## Wednesday, August 6, 2014

### Divided selves, some of them savvy

For social connections, it is desirable not to be pegged as a member of an outcast group. And thus a mathematician is likely to have at least two selves -- one who lives in the world of mathematics and another separate social self that negotiates that rest-of-the-world where many fear and shun mathematics. I found a situation somewhat similar when I studied at Hunter College in Manhattan: I needed a separate self who negotiated the city. The problem-solving farm girl who knew small towns well and big cities slightly seemed better equipped to adapt to city conversations than her fellow students could chat about anything west of the Hudson.

In this vein, I present a poem that focuses on the country vs city divide -- and it involves a square look and a number.

*How many hundred miles must you drive to get to Pennsylvania?*they wondered. (The Delaware River boundary of PA is about 75 miles west of the George Washington Bridge.)In this vein, I present a poem that focuses on the country vs city divide -- and it involves a square look and a number.

**Green Market, New York**by Julia Spicher Kasdorf
Labels:
divided,
Hunter College,
Julia Spicher Kasdorf,
mathematics,
New York,
Pennsylvania,
poem,
poetry,
problem,
square

## Sunday, August 3, 2014

### A math prof's lament

The mathematical connection for this poem is the fact that it was inspired by regrets for a missed opportunity in a mathematics class -- an opportunity missed by me and thus by one of my students. There are so many ways to be wrong!

I took an extra step to bridge the gap

between us, blind to your matching backward step.

We've moved in tandem until I'm angry

at you, and at me — I thought you needed

lenience, but reprimands instead

would have changed the direction of our cadence

and given you a chance to lead the dance.

A poem about another of my students, "The Prince of Algebra" is available here. And this link will take you to the poems in my collection,

**Lament of a Professor****at the End of the Spring Semester**by JoAnne GrowneyI took an extra step to bridge the gap

between us, blind to your matching backward step.

We've moved in tandem until I'm angry

at you, and at me — I thought you needed

lenience, but reprimands instead

would have changed the direction of our cadence

and given you a chance to lead the dance.

A poem about another of my students, "The Prince of Algebra" is available here. And this link will take you to the poems in my collection,

*My Dance is Mathematics*(Paper Kite Press, 2006).
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