Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Pure as a mathematical equation

     I am pleased when I see mathematics held up as an ideal -- and such was the case when I opened my June 19, 2017 issue of The New Yorker and found the lovely poem, "How to Build a Stradivarius" by Ilyse Kusnetz (1966 -2016). Here are its closing lines:

       .  .  .
       The truth could be found in the song itself—

       how it was impossible to tell where 
       the wood ceased and the song began—notes pure

       as a mathematical equation. Transposing mountain. 
       Valley. Mountain again.

The complete poem is available here.

Monday, August 28, 2017

How does the Triangle relate to the Circle?

     One of the active promoters of poetry with links to mathematics is Californian Carol Dorf -- who teaches math at Berkeley High School AND is poetry editor for the online journal, TalkingWriting.  Along with several other mathy poets, Carol participated in the poetry reading at the Bridges 2017 Math-Arts Conference in Waterloo, Ontario.
     Here, playing with mathematical language -- from Carol's 2013 collection, enchantingly illustrated by Terri Saul, Every Evening Deserves a Title (Delirious Nonce, Berkeley, CA) -- is "Euclidean Shivers."

     Euclidean Shivers     by Carol Dorf

     So, how does the Triangle
     relate to the Circle?    

     Euclid and a radius prove points
     that radiate from the center, a circle,
     a method to navigate space.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

More solar numbers

     Yesterday's eclipse is still on my mind -- and "solar" links me to a poem featured at the recent Bridges Math-Arts Conference in Waterloo -- a poem by Brazilian poet Marco Lucchesi, a much-honored and widely translated writer who is a professor of literature at the Federal University of Rio Di Janeiro.
by Marco Lucchesi

Lucchesi's poem is found in Hinos Matematicos (Mathematical Hymns) -- and has been translated from the Portuguese by Renato Rezende.  The numbers in the poem, 220 and 284, are in mathematics called amicable numbers  -- the proper divisors of each one can be summed to give the other.   For example:   (2 + 110) + (4 + 55) + (5 + 44) + (10+22) + (11+20) + 1 = 284.
Thanks, Marco, for your poem.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Sun's poem is infinite . . .

      On this day during which many in the US experienced the totality of a solar eclipse, I stayed in Maryland and, on the roof of my condo-building  -- along with one of my sons and two of my granddaughters and an array of neighbors -- saw the darkening as about 80% of the sun was covered by the moon.  This event -- the view of the eclipsed sun, the darkened day -- was far more interesting and exciting than I had expected.
     AND, thanks to my neighbor, poet and translator Yvette Neisser, I have been introduced to some poetry about the sun.  She has shared Solar Poems by Homero Aridjis (City Lights, 2010, translated by George McWhirtier).  Here are several stanzas from the opening poem . . .

The Sun’s poem is infinite, 
we can only paint it in words, 
said the painter

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Seeking an EQUATION for LOVE . . .

       One of the interesting and fun people I had the good fortune to meet at the 2017 Bridges Math-Arts Conference in Waterloo, Ontario, is Lisa Lajeunesse.  At Capilano University, Lajeunesse teaches a course entitled "Math and Creative Arts" and presented at Bridges a thought-provoking paper entitled "The Golden Ratio:  How Close is Close Enough?"   My close connection with her came because we both were involved in a Bridges 2017 Math-Poetry Reading.  She has given me permission to include her clever and mathy poem here.

  An Equation for Love    by Lisa Lajeunesse     

          They’ve found an equation for love

          It goes something like this
          love equals attraction times compatibility to the power of opportunity
          there’s more of course and there’s been much fiddling
          with coefficients and lesser terms
          involving age, pheromones and duration of eye contact   

Monday, August 14, 2017

The wisdom of grooks . . .

     From Wikpedia, we have this definition:       A grook ("gruk" in Danish) is a form of short aphoristic poem or rhyming aphorism, created by the Danish poet, designer, inventor and scientist Piet Hein (1905-1996), who wrote over 7000 of them, mostly in Danish or English. A couple mathy grooks are offered below -- and, below them, links to more.

        PROBLEMS          by Piet Hein

Problems worthy
of attack
prove their worth
by hitting back.

The grook shown above and more are found here:

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Counting, women, loving mathematics

     Here is another Cento from BRIDGES -- for background information, please see my August 4 posting -- this one composed by Erinn and Catherine.  Authors of the four lines are Judy Green, Shakuntala Devi, Anonymous, and Mike Naylor.

 How many women mathematicians can you name?
How many of you love mathematics?
Women count. Men count. People count.
Counting each and every step along this rocky shore.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Centos from 2017 Bridges Math-Arts Conference

     Last Monday evening I returned home from the 2017 Bridges Math-and-the-Arts Conference at the University of Waterloo.  One of the special events in which I participated was a Sunday afternoon poetry reading; information about the reading (and links) are here in my July 17 posting .  
     Another conference activity -- machine-based and developed by Waterloo computer science grad student Erinn Atwater to work with a data-base of quotations I had gathered that relate to math or poetry -- was a machine set-up to invite conference attendees to compose a four-line Cento from a screen-selection of choices.
     Here is a sample of the Cento poetry that was created; the assembler of these lines listed her name simply as Bianca:

Mathematics is not only connected to art; it is just art.                  (by Solomon Marcus)
There is always a third point between any two.                             (by Michael Rosen)
My imagination is still the same. It’s bad with large numbers.       (by Wislawa Szymborska)
Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.                        (by William Shakespeare)