Friday, April 30, 2021

Polyform Puzzles -- presented in verse

     Many math-loving folks gather periodically at meetings called  G4G (Gatherings for Gardner) to celebrate the life and contributions of Martin Gardner (1914-2010) -- a versatile author whom I know best from his "Mathematical Games" column in Scientific American -- a column that often connected math and poetry. 

     Here is a link to the YouTube channel for G4G Celebrations -- a place to view presentations of ideas that honor the spirit of Martin Gardner.   For one of the recent meetings of G4G (online due to Covid), graphic artist and designer of recreational mathematics puzzles, Kate Jones, offered a visual and poetic presentation entitled A Periodic Table of polyform puzzles.

This is the 3rd slide of Jones' presentation, "A Periodic Table of polyform puzzles"

      This link leads to a pdf of the 29 slides of Jones' presentation and this link leads to a 24-minute PowerPoint recording of the production; eventually this event will be available on the YouTube Channel noted above.   Jones describes this creation in this way:  It’s like a very condensed book on the subject; using rhymed couplets allowed for even more compact delivery of the information.  She adds:  at the gamepuzzles website, the various individual items in the puzzles can be seen more simply.

     Here is a link to an earlier posting in this  blog that includes a Fibonacci poem by Jones -- created for the 2016 meeting of G4G.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A Visit to Mathland -- where Reason rules!

Published in 1979 by PRIMARY PRESS, out of print -- try your library!

Before purchasing this anthology (found at a math conference) I had never seen a collection of mathy poems -- but then, many years later, I helped to edit one (Strange Attractors:  Poems of Love and Mathematics).   Today I offer an old favorite from Against Infinity  -- the poem "A Visit to Mathland" by Naomi Replansky (born May 23, 1918):

A Visit to Mathland  by Naomi Replansky  (for M., Z., and L., citizens thereof)

 I was a timid tourist
 to the land of mathematics:
 how do you behave in a country
 where Reason rules?   

Monday, April 26, 2021

Mean, Median, Mode -- and Poetry and Bananas!

 A wonderful resource for mathy poems for students is  “S.T.E.A.M. Powered Poetry Videos for Pk-8”  -- and I have recently connected there with poet and teacher, Heidi Bee Roemer; I offer a sample of her work below:

This poem --  and much more -- found at

Across the curriculum, “S.T.E.A.M. Powered Poetry Videos for Pk-8” promotes poetry in the classroom using multiple methods and strategies. In addition to kid-friendly poetry videos, this vlog features crafts, classroom activities, and reference lists for related children’s books that offer additional information on each poem’s subject.  Learn more at this link about Heidi Bee Roemer and her collaborators.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Earth Day -- are we the FINAL ones?

Tomorrow (April 22) is Earth Day.  This worried poem is structured using
The Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic.
(Some explanatory notes follow the poem.)

"We Are the Final Ones"  by JoAnne Growney

Monday, April 19, 2021

Poetry by Math Students

     Mathematics Teacher Lisa Winer (St Andrews School, Boca Raton, FL) enjoys giving her students new sorts of learning experiences.  In her eatplaymath blog, I found the results of her suggestion that students submit mathy poems to their school literary magazine.  I offer below the first of the poems in the collection that Winer offers; go here to read more -- AND, consider a poetry project for math students that YOU know!

Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset

    I am bad at math   (read top to bottom)
       I am horrible at math
       So I'll never say that
       I can get an A.
       But, if I try my hardest
       I will fail. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Parody with Limericks

     A limerick is a five-line rhyming verse, usually humorous, often earthy and rude.  Various limericks have appeared previous postings in this blog -- this one comes from the online journal Parody -- Poetry for the world as it really isn't.


I found Norwood's sexist limerick here in a July 2013 posting in ParodyHere is a link to previous postings in this blog of mathy limericks.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Pi-ku Contest in Australia -- deadline Two Pi Day

     Using syllable counts to help to craft poems has been with us since the sonnet and this blog has often presented square poems and Fibs and Pilish and . ..  and today we again focus on the digits of  πOn Pi-Day (3/14) Australia's Cosmos Magazine opened a Pi-Ku Contest which asks for brief Haiku-like poems whose syllables-per-line are counted by the first six digit of the decimal value of  π (Contest information is available at this link.)  Entries must be submitted by 2Pi-Day, or 6/28.

     Here are two mathy samples from the Cosmos contest-information site 

        Learning STEM
        remember science,
        technology, engineering, maths. 
    by Jennifer Chalmers

        To say safe,
        an area
        Pi times one point five
        metres squared around yourself always.
       by Lauren Fuge  

Other poetry forms shaped by the digits of  π include π-ku and Pilish.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

A Scientist's Math-Poetic Memoir

     Madhur Anand is a poet and a professor of ecology and environmental science at the University of Guelph in Ontario – her work has been noted here in earlier postings in this blog  -- and today I want to introduce readers to her memoir, This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart (Penguin Random House, 2020).  

     On the opening page we find these poetic lines:

     Biexponential Function     by Madhur Anand    

     I have of a
     book from my
     childhood is one
     entitled I Know What
     I Like
.  I remember the    

Monday, April 5, 2021

Mathy Poets plan for 2021 BRIDGES Conference

      The Annual BRIDGES Math-Art Conference will be virtual again this year (August 2-6, 2021) and mathematician-poet Sarah Glaz has developed an online array of poets and poetry to be part of this program.  Bios and sample poems are already available here.

      Participating poets include:  Marian Christie, Carol Dorf, Susan Gerofsky. David Greenslade, Emily Grosholz, JoAnne Growney, Lisa Lajeunesse, Marco Lucchesi, Mike Naylor, Osmo Pekonen, Tom Petsinis, Eveline Pye, Any Uyematsu, Ursula Whitcher -- and, also, these open-mike participants: Susana Sulic, S. Brackert Robertson, Stephen Wren, Marion Deutsche Cohen, Connie Tetteborn, Jacob Richardson, Robin Chapman. Stephanie Strickland.  (Bios and sample poems here.)

     Here is a sample from the BRIDGES poetry program:

Descartes   by Eeva-Liisa Manner
                        translated from the Finnish by Osmo Pekonen

I thought, but I wasn't.
I said animals were machines.
I had lost everything but my reason.