Friday, September 29, 2017

Poetry . . . Mathematics . . . and Attitude

            Outwitted     by Edwin Markham (1852-1940)

            HE DREW a circle that shut me out—
            Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
            But Love and I had the wit to win:
            We drew a circle that took him in!

Today I invite you to browse  -- scroll down to look at recent posts and find something of interest OR use the SEARCH box to find lines by a particular poet or ones that feature particular mathematical terms.  Your search/scroll also can find poems that celebrate math-women and ones that protest abuse of our environment. THANK YOU for coming here to read.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Alice's Adventures in Numberland

     Recently I was alerted to some postings by Alice Silverberg -- she is a professor of mathematics and computer science at the University of California at Irvine and she is has made outstanding contributions to the field of Cryptography.  AND Silverberg has recently written down (at this link) some of her adventures as a math-woman.  She has entitled them "Alice's Adventures in Numberland" and she offers an email address for readers' comments.  ALSO here are links to two of my earlier postings featuring Alice Silverberg and poetry:  "A Quantum Romance" by Adam Rulli-Gibbs and several syllable snowballs.
As a recent film featuring NASA mathematician, Katherine Johnson, 
points out, math-women often are:
Hidden figures:
women no one
notices are
changing the world.
 Although not mathematical, "Diving into the Wreck
by Adrienne Rich (1929-2012) also is relevant here.
      Here is a link to an important article by Judy Green, "How Many Women Mathematicians Can You Name?"  Green, now an emeritus professor at Marymount University, opens her article (first published in Math Horizons in 2001) with the admission that until her last undergraduate semester the only female mathematician she could name is Emmy NoetherGreen's article, and a book she has co-written (with Jeanne LaDuke) and its companion website, help to remedy such situations for others.  There are many important math women to know!
     AND, if you still have time after exploring the links above, 
please visit my article (with poetry) "They Say She Was Good -- for a Woman,"
published July 2017 in the online Journal of Humanistic Mathematics.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Chinese Poem of the Cross

     At the website (a Catholic social networking site that offers information that it deems pertinent to questions about faith) I found this interesting use of numbers in a poem written by the Chinese Kangxi Emperor (1654-1722).  

By the Kangxi Emperor (康熙帝) (4 May 1654 – 20 December 1722)
      The Kangxi Emperor (康熙帝) was the longest-reigning emperor in the history of China, and one of the longest-ruling monarchs worldwide. He ascended the throne at age 7, and reigned for 61 years. He was also a learned scholar, who compiled the Kangxi Dictionary and he was friendly to Christianity.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Women Count

     Today's commentary by Washington Post writer Dana Milbank offered a forceful reminder that women are often talked-over by men.   Milbank's offering comes just three days after I attended a special event at the National Museum of Women in the Arts that featured Judy Chicago, a feminist artist whose 1970s sculpture, "Dinner Party," celebrates not only the geometry of triangles and circles but also the contributions of women to our world -- 39 women celebrated by place settings and 999 additional women's names recorded therein.  Even though Judy Chicago insisted last Sunday that she is not fearless, her record of behavior is as fearless as I have known.  I think it is not possible to talk-over Judy Chicago.  She is someone I much-admire. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Irish poet McGovern to visit US

     Irish poet and physicist Iggy McGovern will visit the US in October and is scheduled to read at 
The Writer's Center in Bethesda--Saturday, October 14 at 3 PM.  

McGovern's poetry has been featured earlier in this blog -- including "Belfast Inequalities" and "Proverbs for the Computer Age" on December 20, 2015  and "Geometry" on January 12, 2016.  This latter poem, "Geometry" is the opening poem in A Mystic Dream of 4 (Dedalus Press, Dublin, 2013) -- a sonnet sequence based on the life of mathematician William Rowan Hamilton (1805-1865).  Also a poet, Hamilton grew up in Ireland in a time of prominence for British romantic poets of William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) -- and I offer below a McGovern sonnet that links Hamilton to Coleridge.     

Friday, September 15, 2017

Love Triangle . . ..

     One day, looking online for Edwin Abbott's 19th century classic, Flatland, I found not only Abbott's tale but some poetry.  At the website of Jerome White, a New Orleans math teacher, I found his mathy poem "Love Triangle," about which White says:    "Love Triangle" was inspired by my disappointment that Flatland: A Romance In Many Dimensions was deceptively devoid of "romance" in the modern sense of the word. 
     With White's permission, here is the poem -- offered with a preparatory remark:  the poet is sometimes explicit as he describes the geometry of sexual attraction.

Love Triangle      by  Jerome A. White

A trio of three-sided polygons sprawled across
the two-dimensional space of my notebook page
capturing my singular focus

The one on the left I tried to seduce
Only to find her obliquely obtuse
Her oversized angle symbolic
of the diverging vectors our lives would follow    

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Truth in a circle . . .

     In these days when the truth-value of so much of what I hear broadcast is difficult to assess I have been drawn back to a poem by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), given below.  I used to agree with Dickinson; now I am less sure about how one may know the truth to tell it.

Tell all the truth but tell it slant — (1263)     by Emily Dickinson

       Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
       Success in Circuit lies
       Too bright for our infirm Delight
       The Truth's superb surprise
       As Lightning to the Children eased
       With explanation kind
       The Truth must dazzle gradually
       Or every man be blind —

This poem and many others by Dickinson may be found online at where they note that Dickinson's work is reprinted by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of Amherst College from THE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON: READING EDITION, edited by Ralph W. Franklin, ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1998, 1999 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979, 1983 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.  Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1998).

Monday, September 11, 2017

Poetry of Colors and Geometry

      Recently I found online links to an exhibit by Japanese Surrealist Poet Kitasono Katue at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and further searching --  for words from this poet  -- led me here.  I offer a sample below -- and invite you, after reading here, to follow the links and explore this fascinating work.
     Here, is one of five poems by Kitasono Katue from Smoke's Straightline (Kemuri no chokusen, 1959), translated into English by John Solt and available at this link.

     Monotonous Space     by Kitasono Katue (1902-1978)

     white square
     within it
     white square
     within it
     black square
     within it
     black square    

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Halfway down . . .

     This week I have been sifting through piles of poems I have collected for possible posting herein.  Poems which I need to read and reread, to write to authors and publishers for permission to present.  There will be future days for me to do that.  Today I offer you a stanza from "Halfway Down" by A. A. Milne (from Now We are Six, E P Dutton, 1927).  Enjoy.

          from Halfway Down     by A. A. Milne (1882-1956)
          Halfway down the stairs
          Is a stair
          Where I sit.
          There isn't any
          Other stair
          Quite like
          I'm not at the bottom,
          I'm not at the top;
          So this is the stair
          I always
          Stop.                     Here is a link to the rest of this poem -- and to more of Milne's work.

If you would like to see a list of poems that offer"spirit-of-math" insights about math-people and their work, follow this link to find several dozen math-linked titles -- a list originally prepared for a Joint Mathematics Meetings presentation.  Many of the poems on the list are available in this blog and can be located using the SEARCH feature.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

From Hydrology to Poetry to Infinity . . .

     Carlos Puente is a professor of hydrology at the University of California, Davis AND he is so much more . . .  at Bridges 2017 he presented a paper that offered samples of artistic designs relevant to his research studies -- geometric structures linked, for example, to ice crystals and the DNA rosette.   Puente also integrates his work with poems and song lyrics.  Both he and I participated in a poetry-reading at the Bridges conference -- he read "Le plus improbable" and he has given me permission to offer you here a portion of "Conga to infinity." 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Celebrate Kim Roberts with "Six"

     Today is the first of a new month and, as expected, this morning I got an email reminder of the monthly Poetry News that is available at Beltway Poetry.    Founded by poet Kim Roberts in 2000, this quarterly journal provides a vital voice for poetry in the Washington, DC area.  Thanks, Kim!
     The poem by Roberts below is one that I first met while walking along the street in Takoma Park, MD  -- a community that actively promotes the arts.  Roberts' poem "Six" was displayed for my sidewalk reading in honor of National Poetry Month -- and my photo of that display is shown following the printed text of her poem. Enjoy!

       Six    by Kim Roberts

       The number of feet to dig for a coffin.
       The highest roll of the dice.
       The symbol of Venus, goddess of love.
       The atomic number of carbon.
       As a prefix, either hex or sex.
       A group of French composers in the 1920s.