## Friday, November 30, 2018

### Chaos theory -- portrayed in poetry

A poem I have long loved is "Chaos Theory" by poet (and fiction writer and scholar) Ronald Wallace -- and he has given me permission to offer it below.

Chaos Theory     by Ronald Wallace

1. Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions

For want of a nail the shoe was lost,
for want of a shoe the horse was lost,
and so on to the ultimate loss—a battle,
a world. In other words, the breeze
from this butterfly's golden wings
could fan a tsunami in Indonesia
or send a small chill across the neck
of an old love about to collapse in Kansas
in an alcoholic stupor—her last.
Everything is connected. Blame it on
the butterfly, if you will. Or the gesture
thirty years ago, the glance across

## Wednesday, November 28, 2018

### Counting words with the Fibonacci numbers . . .

Today a poem by New York poet, Larissa Shmailo,
that explores aging with word-counts that match the Fibonacci numbers.

none

1(one)

1(ego)

two (I)

I 2 threeeeeeeeee

5 school, ruled 2 three

## Monday, November 26, 2018

### Marriage in Quantum Mechanics

Sometimes mathematical concepts also bring to mind phenomena in our everyday lives -- as in this poem by New Jersey poet Charlotte Mandel;  I hope you enjoy, as I did, Mandel's play with ideas and imagery.

In Quantum Mechanics, Marriage Is     by Charlotte Mandel

discontinuous
as rain
chips into the lake,
each linear strike
sets another circle in the jostle
as currents
succeed.

## Wednesday, November 21, 2018

### Thankful for . ..

Now
I
give thanks --
and empathy, for
mathematics and poetry.

When I offer a poetry class to people new to writing, often the first poem I ask them to write is a Fib -- I give them a topic (such as "winter" or "Thanksgiving" or "gardening" or . . .) and ask them to write lines whose syllable-counts match the first six Fibonacci numbers: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8. Time and again these writers are pleased with the way that the numerical constraints shape their words into thoughtful meaning.
This posting, "Poems with Fibonacci Number Patterns" offers more samples.  The six-line form (called a Fib and illustrated above) was invented in 2006 by Gregory Pincus.
Happy Thanksgiving!

## Monday, November 19, 2018

### Qualitative thinking in a quantitative era . . .

and an advocate of holistic education.
Many thanks to Australian poet and STEAM advocate, Erica Jolly
for reminding me of the importance of Hoffmann's work.

HEIGHT     by Roald Hoffmann

The man
who said
when you're on top
of a mountain
you can't see it
was a miner.
The tiny poem above is found here on Hoffmann's website.

## Friday, November 16, 2018

### A poet that makes math personal

Mathematician-poet Marion Cohen has a new poetry collection just out -- The Project of Being Alive.  Here is a sample from that collection, a poem that highlights her relationship with mathematics:

Statement     by Marion Deutsche Cohen

A good teacher is supposed to teach students, not subjects.
But I teach math.
Whoever the students, math is the subject.
If there were no students I’d probably still teach my subject.
I’d teach and I’d learn
all by myself.

Echoing Marion's thoughts, I think that many of us who love mathematics and/or love poetry, enjoy the challenge of reading and rereading -- and struggling to absorb difficult ideas.

## Wednesday, November 14, 2018

### A FIRST-LOVE in math-poetry -- "Counting Rhymes"

Still in my head are counting rhymes that I learned in childhood -- an early connection between mathematics and poetry that I think helped me to love both subjects.  Here is a link to a list of more than forty math-rhymes -- and including one that is also in Spanish.
This rhyme is one that has been useful to me throughout both childhood and adulthood-- as I strive to remember which months have thirty days.

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
All the rest have thirty-one,
Excepting February alone,
Which has twenty-eight in line,
Till leap-year gives it twenty-nine.

AND, today's issue of the Washington Post has a cartoon by Tom Toles -- about recounting votes after last week's election -- that also involves a counting rhyme:  I offer part of the rhyme below but the visual is critical -- and available here.

One, two, none for you.
Three, four, they fell on the floor.
Five, six, it takes some tricks . . .
Seven, eight, to make America great.
. . .
For a few more rhymes, check out this 2013 post, "Nursery Rhyme Mathematics."

## Monday, November 12, 2018

### Mathy poems at poets.org

For a variety of mathy poems, here's a GREAT link to follow

## Wednesday, November 7, 2018

### Rhyming wordplay -- with math terms . . .

Nineteenth century British poet Arthur Clement Hilton (1851-1877) died young but during his short life he wrote some lively verse.  Here is "Mathematics" -- from his collection The First Green, found here (p.134).

Mathematics     by Arthur Clement Hilton

I've really had enough of sums,
I've done so very many,
That now instead of doing sum
I'd rather not do any.

I've toiled until my fingers are
With writing out of joint;
And even now of Decimals
I cannot see the point.

## Monday, November 5, 2018

### Applied Science -- and Art

Some days there is time to sort through piles of old stuff saved on a shelf -- and this morning's fun-find was a September 1993 issue of Poetry Magazine with this poem, "Applied Science," by Neal Bowers, a poem inspired by sculpture by George Greenamyer.

Applied Science     by Neal Bowers
after George Greenamyer’s "Start to Finish"
Because three left turns make a right,
and the way down is the way up,
the way in the way out,
but most of all because
the beginning is the end,

## Friday, November 2, 2018

### The Puzzle of Time

Recently I have learned with sadness of the death last February of Romanian-Canadian mathematician Florin Diacu (1959-2018).  Florin also wrote poetry -- and helped to organize seminars in "Creative Writing in Mathematics" at the Banff International Research Station.  I met Diacu when I was privileged to attend these seminars -- and you may find my 2016 posting of his poem "Arnold Diffusion" at this link.  Today I remember him by sharing with readers his poem "Time" -- first published in the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics in 2012 and also available at this link.

Time     by Florin Diacu

Time drifts on the sea of illusions.

Newton’s image of it was a line,
unbounded and straight, like desire.
Einstein called it dimension four:
the lasting partner of space.