*Grace Notes*(The Word Works, 2017), translated by Mary-Sherman Willis. Cocteau surely is a challenge for translators as he plays with with connections between disparate images; in the poem I offer below I much enjoyed the mathy connections -- person and number, three and zero, triangle and oval, and so on.

## Tuesday, February 28, 2017

### Zero is three!

February's second weekend was a busy one with the AWP Writer's conference in downtown Washington, DC -- and one of the special treats of that weekend was browsing the Book Fair, renewing connections and finding special books. One of my great finds was the bilingual collection of Jean Cocteau's

Labels:
Jean Cocteau,
Mary-Sherman Willis,
The Word Works

## Thursday, February 23, 2017

### The Geometry of Poetry

Some poems lie around for A LONG TIME waiting for me to pick them up. Or I pick them up and put them down in a special place and then place something else on top of them. Such is the case with Janet Kirchheimer's "The Geometry of Poetry" -- several years ago Janet and I corresponded and then I didn't follow through with posting her poem. And now, this week, I am working on a paper for Bridges 2017 -- a math-arts conference to be held in Waterloo, Ontario at the end of July -- and my working title is the same as the title of Janet's poem. AND, this coincidence helped me to FIND her poem to give you to enjoy.

I first read "The Geometry of Poetry" by Janet R. Kirchheimer online in

*Poemeleon*-- and her work also has appeared in many other journals, anthologies and websites. She is currently producing*AFTER*, a film that explores poetry written about the Holocaust. Thanks, Janet, for this poem with its mathy comparisons.**The Geometry of Poetry**by Janet R. Kirchheimer## Tuesday, February 21, 2017

### An old link but a GOOD one!

Today I have been working on some ideas for a paper for the 2017 BRIDGES Math-Arts Conference and I have needed to refer back to an old paper of mine, "Mathematics in Poetry," that I wrote for MAA's

*JOMA*more than 10 years ago -- a survey article that introduces a variety of viewpoints and examples. Enjoy!## Thursday, February 16, 2017

### The Infinite

On page 53 of the February 6 issue of

The infinite yawns and keeps yawning.

Is it sleepy?

Does it miss Pythagoras?

*The New Yorker*I recently found and enjoyed a poem entitled "The Infinite" by Charles Simic. Here are its opening lines:The infinite yawns and keeps yawning.

Is it sleepy?

Does it miss Pythagoras?

## Monday, February 13, 2017

### Love and Mathematics -- and Valentine's Day

Perhaps you need a love poem

*for*a mathematician, or*about*a mathematician -- you might enter the words**and***love***in the search box to the right and find what this blog has to offer. And here is a link to previous postings that celebrate Valentine's Day. Enjoy!!***mathematician*### Read it (math OR poem) more than once . ..

Recently my poet-friend, Millicent Borges Accardi, sent me a copy of her latest book,

The essential business of living well

Continues in shock waves

That fall into the ground of innocent

People, triggered inside a soul

Of nothingness that pretended

To solve an impossible equation.

My favorite poem in Accardi's collection is "Amazing Grace" which I give you below. It is a poem that, like an intriguing piece of mathematics, I have read, and read again, and again . .. each time getting more meaning than the time before.

For me, one of the similarities of poetry and math is their density, the need for several readings -- for reading both aloud and silently, for reading with pencil and paper for note-taking, for reading in the library and at the kitchen table, sitting or standing.

*Only More So*(Salmon Poetry, 2016). She mentioned a poem entitled "The Night of Broken Glass" for its mathematics -- indeed it includes several numbers as it movingly describes attempts at normalcy amid the horrors of urban attack; and it ends with this stanza :The essential business of living well

Continues in shock waves

That fall into the ground of innocent

People, triggered inside a soul

Of nothingness that pretended

To solve an impossible equation.

My favorite poem in Accardi's collection is "Amazing Grace" which I give you below. It is a poem that, like an intriguing piece of mathematics, I have read, and read again, and again . .. each time getting more meaning than the time before.

For me, one of the similarities of poetry and math is their density, the need for several readings -- for reading both aloud and silently, for reading with pencil and paper for note-taking, for reading in the library and at the kitchen table, sitting or standing.

## Thursday, February 9, 2017

### Like James Baldwin - refuse labels!

Last Sunday evening -- instead of watching Super Bowl LI -- in a crowded theater in downtown Silver Spring I watched the recently-released documentary "I Am Not Your Negro," narrated using words of writer James Baldwin (1924-1986). Baldwin was a contrarian, he avoided or contradicted labels and categories.

One of my favorite quotes -- that I see as intimately related to discovery in mathematics (from Hungarian-American Nobelist, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (1893-1986)) -- applies also to Baldwin:

Discovery is seeing

what everybody else has seen, and thinking

what nobody else has thought.

And here, from

One of my favorite quotes -- that I see as intimately related to discovery in mathematics (from Hungarian-American Nobelist, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (1893-1986)) -- applies also to Baldwin:

Discovery is seeing

what everybody else has seen, and thinking

what nobody else has thought.

And here, from

*Jimmy's Blues & Other Poems*(Beacon Press, 2014) is Baldwin's little poem "Imagination" which captures the same sort of mind-play that occurs with mathematics.## Monday, February 6, 2017

### Celebrate Francis Su

In this morning's email I got a link (Thanks, Greg Coxson!) to this story that celebrates the talented mathematician and compassionate human being, Francis Su. Dr Su (of Harvey Mudd College) has recently completed a term as president of the Mathematical Association of America. Here is a link to Dr Su's retiring presidential address -- for which he received a standing ovation. Read. Learn. Admire. Celebrate. Imitate!

Scrolling down in this blog to my posting for January 11, 2017 will lead you to links to several

A thorough advocate in a just cause,

a penetrating mathematician facing the starry heavens,

both alike bear the semblance of divinity.

-- Goethe (1749-1832)

Scrolling down in this blog to my posting for January 11, 2017 will lead you to links to several

**poems that celebrate mathematicians**. And a blog-SEARCH using "mathematician" will find even more such poems. Enjoy!A thorough advocate in a just cause,

a penetrating mathematician facing the starry heavens,

both alike bear the semblance of divinity.

-- Goethe (1749-1832)

## Thursday, February 2, 2017

### Groundhog Day 2017

My scan of this morning's

*Washington Post*did not find a mention of today's important status as Groundhog Day -- and I am worried that perhaps the new President 45 has banned these useful creatures. If you wish, you may search this blog for postings related to*and, if you do, you can get these results. Enjoy!***Groundhog Day**### January 2017 and prior -- titles and dates of posts

Here are the titles and dates of previous blog postings,

moving backward from the present.

**For mathy poem**

**s related to a particular mathy topic**-- such as

**or**

*women in math**or*

**climate***or*

**triangle***or*

**circle****teacher**or

*-- click on a selected title below or enter the desired term in the*

**. . .****SEARCH**box in the right-hand column. For example, here is a link to a selection of poems found using the pair of search terms "

*." For poems about*

**women equal****calculus**, follow this link.

**To find a list of useful search terms, scroll down the right-hand column.**

Jan 31 Life is Short

Jan 29 Girls can do EVERYTHING!

Jan 26 Ultimately, all mathematics is poetry . . .

Jan 23 All Mathematicians are Equal!

Jan 19 Dickens, from A Tale of Two Cities

Jan 16 Celebrate Martin Luther King

Jan 11 Poems starring mathematicians

Jan 6 2017 is prime!

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