Last fall the American Mathematical Society held a math-poetry contest for Maryland students and the winners were announced and celebrated in Baltimore last Saturday. Two of the winners, Tina Xia and Brooke Johnston, have given me permission to offer their poems here!
Math is Me by Brooke Johnston, Notre Dame Preparatory School
Math can inspire.
Math can inquire.
Math does not require those who know
but those who understand.
Math is me.
A Love Letter to My X by Tina Xia, Walt Whitman High School
To wonder is to dream, said one of the greats--
To meddle is to be irrational. Love, like
Many things, is fickle and feckless. Ask mother:
She would agree. And people will tell you to find
X until you die, but man, you need to move on.
I believe in the power of both math and love,
A cumbrous combining of two greats.
Life is pointless without geometry, they say, and
Opinions without 3.1415 are just onions. So tell me
Why I cry when I see octopi while my X calls me obtuse.
In this love letter to my X, I say thank you, and urge
You to move on like the rest of them. Because, like numbers
That aren't divisible by two, you're both odd and weird
And honestly, mathematicians hate you. Don't ask me
For my sine when you know you're a gemini,
Don't call me and proclaim your love. I hope we
Diverge and never intersect again, and man,
Don't you ask me Y.
Thank you, Tina and Brooke, for valuing both mathematics and poetry, AND for your thoughtful poems. Kelin Torres-Rodas of Prince Georges Community College also was a poetry prize-winner but I was unable to contact her for permission to include her poem in my blog. It is available here.