Monday, September 30, 2019

Personalities in Mathematics . . .

     For those of us who spend time in the World of Mathematics, numbers and other mathematical objects often develop personalities.   Previous posts have featured poems by the French poet, Guillevic, whose verses animate geometric objects.  Today I offer (below) a photo of  "Glum Circles" -- found in the imaginative collection, Lyrical Diagrams   -- with prose poems by David Greenslade and images by Carolina Vasquez (Shearsman Books, 2012).

An online sample of the first 17 pages of Lyrical Diagrams is available here as a pdf.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Articles that link math and poetry . . .

Below I offer links to two articles that I rediscovered recently. 
     The first is a National Geographic Education Blog posting from 2018, "How Math and Poetry Intersect" (an article for which I found no author named).  This article offers a variety of activities for students.
     The second article comes from The American Scholar, way back in 2009 -- a thoughtful article by Joel E, Cohen entitled "A Mindful Beauty:  what poetry and applied mathematics have in common" -- an article also mentioned in this 2010 blog posting.  

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Sing a Song of Mathematics . . .

     One of the long-term supporters of links between mathematics and the arts is Douglas Norton -- a mathematics professor at Villanova University and very active in the Special Interest Group of the MAA (SIGMAA)  that celebrates Mathematics and the Arts.  
     Doug Norton also is a song-writer and often has participated in music activities at the Bridges Math-Art Conferences.  Here is a sample of his math-art lyrics:

     Take A Chance On Me   by Doug Norton

     If you change your mind and want two combined,
     Don’t do Math alone:
     Join the Math Art zone.
     If you do Art, let me know, spread some Math around.
     If you’ve got no place to go with an upper bound,
     Math or Art alone feeling monotone?
     Do as we condone:
     Join the Math Art zone.  

Monday, September 16, 2019

Beautiful algebra -- a Haiku

     One of my recent discoveries has been the POEM GENERATOR website at  In particular, I have used it to help me to generate Haiku to celebrate special birthdays.  Typically, the generator offers me a Haiku that does not quite satisfy me -- and I tweak it a bit.  STILL, the website deserves most of the credit -- for it has given me a basis to mold.  This morning, I have used the site to help me generate a math-Haiku:

          Beautiful - A Haiku   by  and JoAnne

             Abstract algebra --
         creations beautiful, so
           useful, breathtaking.

Friday, September 13, 2019

"Creation Myth on a Moebius Band"

Found at this site, several MINIMS -- brief,thought-provoking poems by Howard Nemerov (1920-1991).  This one deftly uses the mathematical Moebius Band:

          Creation Myth on a Moebius Band    by Howard Nemerov

          This world’s just mad enough to have been made
          By the Being His beings into Being prayed.

This poet frequently used mathematics in his poems.  Here is a link to previous Nemerov postings in this blog.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Colorado Math-Poetry Contest -- deadline 11-12-19

The American Mathematical Society is sponsoring  a  math-poetry contest  
 for middle school, high school, and undergraduate students in Colorado 
(deadline Nov. 12, 2019) with winning poems to be read January 18, 2020
at the Joint Mathematics Meetings at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.
 Information about contest entry is available here.  

     Last year a similar contest was held in Maryland, with winning student-poems (see poster) read  Jan. 19, 2019 in Baltimore.  And now, for students in Colorado:
          your pen.
          Think of ways
          that math is magic.
          Shape your words into a poem!

The stanza above is a Fib -- with syllables per line counted by the first six Fibonacci numbers.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Is TWO more than ONE?

     A poetry friend reminded me recently via email of the poetry of Shel Silverstein (1930-1999) -- both humorous and provocative.  The emailed poem was "Zebra Question" and it employs the strategy so often considered in mathematics -- in testing the truth of a statement, consider also the opposite.   Silverstein's "Zebra Question" opens with these lines:

       I asked the Zebra,
       Are you black with white stripes?
       Or white with black stripes?
       And the zebra asked me,
       Are you good with bad habits?
       Or are you bad with good habits?     

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Poems of Mathematics -- recalling some old posts

     Today I have been browsing some old posts, and offer below a few links to remind us of mathy poems posted in this blog more than five years ago

     “Compromise” by Charles S Allen     
           “Give Me an Epsilon and I Will Treat It Well” by Ray Bobo 
     “The Icosasphere” by Marianne Moore   
          “Mandelbrot Set” by Jonathan Coulton 
     “Numbers”  by JoAnne Growney (a syllable-snowball) 
          “Numerical Landscape” by Eveline Pye 
     “Talking Big” by John Bricuth 
         “Zito the Magician” by Miroslav Holub  
     "Gaps" by Philip Holmes

AND, please go on to SEARCH this blog for lots more poems by Eveline Pye and Miroslav Holub -- and for other names that you find listed in the right-hand column (under Labels . . .).

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Is this Fib true?

     true that
     among folks
     not anchored to math
     by study or career choice, more
     people show delight in being poor at math than good ?

The lines above have syllable counts that follow the first seven Fibonacci numbers: 1,1,2,3,5,8,13.