Thursday, April 28, 2016

Talking-Writing offers Math Poems

     In recent weeks, the online journal Talking-Writing has been featuring math poems and last Monday they posted my "Skagway Study" -- which follows a style explored in one of my favorite poems by Wislawa Szymborska.
      Carol Dorf, poetry editor of Talking-Writing, is a math teacher as well as a poet and her work as well as those of others with math interest are explored in "Wild Equations," the Spring 2016 Issue of Talking-Writing.   Here are some links:

By Giavanna Munafo    "Twenty-Four Hours"
By JoAnne Growney    "Skagway Study" 
By Alice Major     "Euclid's Iron Hand" and "Bird Singularities"
By Amy Uyematsu   "Three Quick Studies of Math-Art"
By Carol Dorf   "Action Potential" and "e"
By Eveline Pye   "Celestial Navigation," "Three," and "The Law of Statistics"
By Larry Lesser    "Margins" 
By Katie Manning   "28, 065 Nights" and "Week by Week" (Fibonacci poem)
By Stephanie Strickland   "Doomed calculations which God acknowledged
                                                Islands (Invaginated by Saltwater
                                           Bays with a Stream and Another Both Flowing
                                              All Through Them along Enfolded Paths)" 

Earlier this week in an American Mathematical Society blog posting entitled "Math and Verbal Gymnastics," Duquesne University mathematician Anna Haensch also celebrated the join of mathematics and poetry.

Monday, April 25, 2016

"The Mathematician"

     Here is a selection from "The Mathematician," a long poem -- found in its entirety in The Rumpus -- by Oregon poet Carl Adamshick and recommended to me by poet R Joyce Heon  --  for a sample of her ekphrastic poems, follow this link and go to pages 37-42.  And this link leads to more poems (in this blog) starring mathematicians --- and a few of them are women!!

from   The Mathematician     by Carl Adamshick

What I do is calculate.
I’ve always seen the world as numbers,
buildings and trees factors,
math as a language better suited for explaining
how things work
than the formula of grammar.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Women in Mathematics Count!

     The theme for 2016 Mathematics Awareness Month is "The Future of Prediction."  And today I am wondering what date can be predicted for when the achievements of women in mathematics will be recognized with the same awareness as those of men.
How many female mathematicians can you name? 
Here are links to two articles to to help you lengthen your list of math-women"12 Brilliant Female Mathematicians You Should Know" -- an article by Olivia Harrison whose list starts with Hypatia (who lived around 400 AD) and continues to the 21st century, featuring Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian mathematician at Stanford who in 2014 won the prestigious Fields Medal for her work related to the symmetry of curved surfaces. Judy Green adds important names in her article "How Many Women Mathematicians Can You Name?"
     For still more, visit my 2015 post "The culture for women in math and the sciences";  additionally, a search of this blog using "math women" will lead to a host of  names and links.  Enjoy!
     Here are the closing lines of a poem of mine about the brilliant mathematician, Emmy Noether (1883-1935):   

           In spite of Emmy's talents,
           always there were reasons
           not to give her rank
           or permanent employment.
           She's a pacifist, a woman.
           She's a woman and a Jew.
           Her abstract thinking
           is female and abstruse.

           Today, history books proclaim that Noether
           is the greatest mathematician
           her sex has produced. They say she was good
           for a woman.

The full poem is available here.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Remembering Solomon Marcus

     Almost five years ago I received an email from Romanian mathematician Solomon Marcus in response to my posting of a translation of  a poem by Nichita Stanescu (1933-1983) entitled "Poetic Mathematics"  -- a poem that Stanescu dedicates to Marcus.  In his email, Marcus offers this:
          Nichita Stanescu published his "Poetic Mathematics" in January 1971, in the magazine ARGES, as a reply to my book "Mathematical Poetics" (in Romanian, 1970; in German in 1973, at Athenaeum Verlag, Frankfurt/Main).
Here is a link to an interview with Marcus last year (at age 90) and it tells of his ongoing literary interests.  Recently I learned the sad news of his death, last month at the age of 91.  Some interesting details of the way Marcus and Stanescu experimented with the uses of language are included in this 2008 article by Emilia Parpala and Rimona Afanaa and are illustrated in the following poem, "Ritual," in which Stanescu uses numbers to explore and extend the meaning of The Last Supper.

     Ritual     by Nichita Stanescu  (trans. Sean Cotter)

     I cry before the number five --
     the last supper, minus six.

Friday, April 15, 2016

From a math-friend and an Ohio poet

     One of the wonderful things about writing a blog about my paired passions of poetry and mathematics is that the blog connects me with fascinating and generous people whom I might not otherwise meet. One of these is Marylander Greg Coxson -- physicist, engineer, mathematician, Operations Researcher -- who took three years of Latin in high school and loves words.  With interests in art and poetry, Greg has organized exhibits of math-related art -- and is a regular recommender of mathy poems for this blog.
     A week or so ago Greg alerted me to an NPR interview with Ohio Poet Laureate Amit Majmudar (a radiologist as well as a poet) -- letting me know that Majmudar's poetry was rich with mathematical imagery.  Following Greg's lead, I found Majmudar's website and was able to contact both Majmudar and his publisher, Knopf, for permission to offer these mathematical poems.
     Here, from Amit Majmudar's new book Dothead, are two sections of the poem "Logomachia" -- sections alive with geometry and logic.  The first, "radiology," is visually vivid; the second, "the waltz of descartes and mohammed," is a sestina that plays with the logic of word-order.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

"The Giraffe" -- a poem for my pocket

     I've found the poem I want to carry in my pocket (and in my head) on "Poem in Your Pocket Day" -- coming soon on April 21. It includes at least one number; here it is:

       The Giraffe     by Ron Padgett

       The 2 f's
       in giraffe
       are like
       2 giraffes
       running through
       the word giraffe

       The 2 f's
       run through giraffe
       like 2 giraffes.    

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Diagonal . . . and so little time . . .

On my mind in recent days is the problem of "so little time."  About a year ago I posted a wonderful mathy poem by Californian Brenda Hillman about time.  The complete poem is available here; below I supply the opening lines:

       Time Problem     by Brenda Hillman

               The problem
                of time.      Of there not being 
                enough of it. ...

Over the six years of this blog, the most-visited post has been "Varieties of Triangles"  with poetry by Guillevic.  Here is another of that poet's charming geometric offerings:

 Diagonal   by Guillevic  (Englished by Richard Sieburth)

       To get where I have to go
       I claim right of way.

       Because I provide communication
       Between two angles

       I take precedence
       I take up residence.

       I cross first,
       Come what may.
"Diagonal" is found in Guillevic's Geometries,from Ugly Duckling Presse (2010). Buy it!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

"The Computation"

     Here is a favorite poem of mine -- and it available with many others in the anthology, Strange Attractors:  Poems of Love and Mathematics (A K Peters, 2008), edited by Sarah Glaz and me.

     The Computation     by John Donne (1572-1631)

     For the first twenty years, since yesterday,
     I scarce believed thou couldst be gone away,
     For forty more, I fed on favours past,
         And forty on hopes, that thou wouldst, they might last.
     Tears drowned one hundred, and sighs blew out two,
         A thousand, I did neither think, nor do,
         Or not divide, all being one thought of you;
         Or in a thousand more, forgot that too.
     Yet call not this long life; but think that I
     Am, by being dead, immortal; can ghosts die?

How clever of Donne, writing all those years ago, to speak (indirectly, at least) to 2016's Math Awareness Month theme, "The Future of Prediction."