ivH: An Alphamath Serial is a book-length poem composed in the tradition
of such precursors as Pythagoras, who taught that Number was the essence of all things;
Plato, who argued that geometry was the foundation of all knowledge;
Leonardo, whose work clearly follows the Renaissance aesthetics of mathematics
and the mathematics of aesthetics; Descartes, Pascal, and d’Alembert,
all of whom were both writers and mathematicians;
Schopenhauer and Lewis Carroll, and then moderns such as Valéry and Ezra Pound,
who, in his Spirit of Romance, declared that “poetry is a sort of inspired mathematics.”
The numbers 4 and 8 provide Coleman with his arbitrary formal constraints. Each line in ivH: An Alphamath Serial has four syllables, and each stanza has eight lines. In addition, each page of ivH offers a concrete poem in the shape of the letter ‘H’ -- the 8th letter of the alphabet..
Here is a stanza of Coleman's poem (one of the several stanzas also quoted in Porco's very informative review); this link leads to a pdf that offers three sample pages.
Listen to the
with these rumbles
obfuscation. (“ivH 47”)
Coleman's work demonstrates poetry as other than a form or a genre but, instead, a counter-method (math + pun) of keeping something of ourselves for ourselves alive—a light, a love, a life in “the dark wood.”