Monday, August 31, 2020

Poetry on Twitter

      Dubbed the "unofficial poet laureate of Twitter" Brian Bilston (a pen-name) sometimes uses mathematics to shape his poems; for example, this poem whose word-counts follow the Fibonacci numbers:

from "Brian Bilston's  POETRY LABOETRY"

Look for Brian on Twitter (@brian_bilston) 
and also on Facebook (
Links and comments for many of my blog-posts also on twitter on Twitter  @mathypoems
and a search using the hash-tag #NPRpoetry leads to lots of interesting stuff!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Ten thousand parts of cat . . .

As a cat-lover, I am drawn to David Manning's mathy poem that I offer below:  

       Live Round     by David T. Manning

       All ten thousand
       parts of cat run
       like seventeen jewels
       in velvet.  Target locked,
       she tucks white forepaws.
       folds couchant     and waits.
       One thousand gyros idling
       quietly, ordnance round
       of bottled death with nose
       that never sleeps
       tuned to the frequency
              of mouse.

After a long career as organic chemist, David Manning turned to poetry.  "Live Round" is on my shelves in his collection Negotiating Physics and Other Poems from a Peaceable Kingdom  (Old Mountain Press, 1999).

Monday, August 24, 2020

What can we count on?

As the August days grow shorter in a hot summer of social distancing, here is a sample of my thoughts:
        I learned to count
        on my fingers.
        Now, years later,
        in twenty-twenty
        what can I count on? 

And I'd like also to make a quick mention of a project I've been part of -- with results that you are likely to enjoy. Gathered by Rosemary Winslow and Catherine Lee, a collection of thoughtful essays,  DEEP BEAUTY --  Experiencing Wonder When the World Is on Fire (Woodhall Press, 2020).  My essay, "When I'm Quiet Enough to See" tells of beauty's connection to my childhood on a farm, to poetry, to mathematics, and is available here.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

From an engineer who loves poetry . . .

João Augusto Sampaio is an Environmental and Civil Engineer who loves poetry; here is a sample:
by João Augusto Sampaio
Sampaio has let me know that he is on Instagram using @jota_sampa;  for another aspect of his work, this link leads to his lovely "visualizing math" posting of Ulam's Spiral, showing the distribution of primes. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Voting and being counted . . .

      A story in the KIDSPOST section of today's Washington Post offers a reminder that 100 years ago today -- on August 18, 1920 --  the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was officially ratified -- extending the right to vote to women.
      Here is a link to a poem by Evie Shockley women’s voting rights at one hundred (but who’s counting?) -- and, below, a few lines from that important poem:

           * * *

          * * *
     one vote was all fannie lou
     hamer wanted. in 1962, when
     her constitutional right was
     over forty years old, she tried
     to register. all she got for her
     trouble was literacy tested, poll
     taxed, fired, evicted, & shot
     at. a year of grassroots activism
     nearly planted her mississippi
     freedom democratic party
     in the national convention.

          * * *
For additional postings related to math and women and voting, here is a link to the results of a blog Search using the terms women and vote.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Heart Arithmetic

      During these days of protest and politics and pandemic, a diversion -- some playful thoughts about LOVE from poet Carl Sandburg (1878-1967).

        How Much?     by Carl Sandburg

       How much do you love me, a million bushels? 
       Oh, a lot more than that, Oh, a lot more. 
        And to-morrow maybe only half a bushel? 
        To-morrow maybe not even a half a bushel. 
        And is this your heart arithmetic?
        This is the way the wind measures the weather.


Monday, August 10, 2020

Poems can help us teach/learn mathematics . . .

     With increasing awareness of the value of integrating the arts in science and mathematics (expanding STEM to STEAM), numerous teachers are sharing their experiences of what works.  Here, from the archive for BRIDGES 2020, is "Poetry in the Lesson of Mathematics"-- an article by Natalija Budinski and Zsolt Lavicza that describes a series of mathematical poetry activities for math and science students.  Here's a sample of student lines (by F.T.):

           Because when you practice math a lot,
           it almost always pays off.

Another article "Enrich Mathematics Discussions with Poems" (written by me and available here) suggests class-inclusion of poems about the nature of mathematics and its history, the lives and contributions of mathematicians -- including the work of women and minorities -- and similarities between mathematics and poetry.  Discussion of student attitudes -- from excitement to math anxiety -- often can be facilitated by discussion of a poem; the article offers suggestions.  
To find a host of additional poetry samples, 
the blog Search offers a way to find poems on a topic of your choice.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Celebrate the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

     Recently Vol.10, No.2 of the online Journal of Humanistic Mathematics has become available online.  This issue is a "Special Issue on Creativity in Mathematics" and the richly varied Table of Contents is available at this link.

Seven of the articles feature poetry with links to mathematics; these are:
     Poetry Folder:     Mental Logic: Two Poems     by Ashley Delvento
                           Natural by Design     by Craig Steele
     Poetry:         four seasons (haikus)     by Stephen Luecking
                    Dear Arithmetic     by Mary Soon Lee
                    Galileo's Verse     by Bruce F. McGuffin
                    Hexagons     by Barbara Quick
                    Changes and Deltas     by Jim Wolper

And here are a couple of samples: 

Monday, August 3, 2020

Point of Inflection -- and the coronavirus

     In the UK, the Radical Statistics Group describes itself as "using statistics to support progressive social change."  The June 2020 issue of their Journal -- Issue 126  -- is a "Coronavirus Special Issue" and it contains a poem by Texas professor-poet Lawrence Lesser.  Here are the opening stanzas.

     The Point of Inflection       by Lawrence M. Lesser

     The point of inflection
     is where towering terror of
     cumulative cases
     slows its rise.