Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Art / Poem / Numbers (posted 7/14/13, then lost)

     Recently I discovered a typo in my posting on July 14, 2013 of "Poem 25" by Kurt Schwitters.  My attempt to fix my typo led to accidental deletion of that post and so, I offer again this diagram-poem.  The poem -- IS THIS REALLY A POEM? --  appears in Numerals: 1924 - 1977 -- gathered by Yale Professor of Art History Rainer Crone (1942-2016), published 1978 by the Yale University Art Gallery. 

Poem 25 (elementary)     by Kurt Schwitters, 1923

A final comment -- when I read this "poem" aloud, I like the sounds of the words!

Monday, November 29, 2021

Sometimes ONE is also TWO

     A long-time supporter of this blog and of math-poetry connections is Gregory Coxson, Research Engineer at the US Naval Academy-- and he has recently shared with me the following poem, a translation of work by German writer and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832); publication and translation details may be found online here.  Coxson was drawn back to his memories of this math-linked poem with the arrival of November and at his campus the bright-yellow leaves of the ginkgo trees.

     Ginkgo Biloba      translation of work by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

       In my garden’s care and favour
       From the East this tree’s leaf shows
       Secret sense for us to savour
       And uplifts the one who knows.

       Is it but one being single
       Which as same itself divides?
       Are there two which choose to mingle
       So that each as one now hides?

       As the answer to such question
       I have found a sense that’s true:
       Is it not my song’s suggestion
       That I’m one and also two?

More about Goethe's poem can be found here at WisdomPortal.com.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Equation Poetry

     The term "Equation Poetry" is the title of an article by Radoslav Rochallyi  -- and posted on 11/9/ 2021 here in the MATH VALUES blog.  Rochallyi is a poet, essayist, and interdisciplinary artist living in Prague, Czech Republic and author of eight books of poetry.   For Rochallyi, "mathematical" poetry is not poetry about mathematics but poetry whose form is determined by a mathematical rule. 

     For example, he uses the formula for the area of a circle --  a = π r²  --  to form this example of Equation poetry:

     And, from the binomial formula,    

if we let x = time, a = being, n = now, and k = know -- our binomial formula becomes this poem:
Visit Rochallyi's article at this link to learn lots more. 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

MANIFOLD: Poetry Inspired by Mathematics

     One of my recent pleasant pastimes has been spending time with MANIFOLD:  Poetry of Mathematics  by E R Lutken.   This poet's experiences prepare her well for merging different points of view -- a Southerner from a family that loved learning, Lutken became a family physician who spent years on the Navajo Nation AND then became a teacher of science and mathematics.  Read more about Lutken and MANIFOLD here.  

The "luc bat" is a Vietnamese poetic form that means "six-eight" -- 
Lutken's poem consists of alternating lines of six and eight syllables.

         Ars Parabola     by E R Lutken

Luc Bat for Horace and MacLeish  
          Can’t say what a poem is or not
          but graph it and the plot
          might trace that perfect spot for one
          whose vertex taps the sun:
          abscissa makes a run from rhyme
          to none and metric time
          devolves from frozen symmetry.
          Equal distance of free
          line and focal point defines sure
          sense, logic’s stare obscured
          as symbols play in pure sound’s bright
          flare. White-hot words ignite
          a sharp savor, the bite, the risk,
          an ordinate of bliss.

"Ars Parabola" is from MANIFOLD, by E R Lutken, 3: A Taos Press, 2021,  presented here with permission of 3: A Taos Press and the poet.  The poem first appeared in Welter Literary Journal.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Aelindromes -- and Pi

     On Twitter, I have seen frequent posts by UK-based writer Anthony Etherin -- and, encouraged by mathy poet Marian Christie, I have found it interesting to explore his work.  Etherin focuses on constrained, formal, visual, and experimental poetry -- he tweets @Anthony_Etherin; he manages Penteract Press.  AND  Etherin has invented a new type of writing-constraint called the aelindrome -- a bit like the palindrome ( such as  top spot  or  never odd or even ) except that the reversals involve more than one letter.   Here is a simple example of an aelindrome: 

melody, a bloody elm  which can be divided into   m el ody ablo ody el m

Found in a Twitter posting by @Anthony_Etherin on 10/21/21 is this aelindrome whose segment-lengths follow the first 14 digits of pi;  31415926535897

       Moonless Moonlight        by Anthony Etherin

       Low, fatal nights! Late, moonless.... Tense, we glitch.
       We swim bled sky, along the ashy glow.
       Shy glow along the ambled sky, we switch.
       We glisten -- see slate moonlight's natal flow.

Go here to learn more of Anthony Etherin and his work.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

After loss we have nothing--which is something ...

     A poet whose work I much admire is A. E. Stallings -- born in the US, in Georgia, but now living in Greece.  This poem -- a sonnet -- deals with the paradox that nothing is something -- as with the integer zero and with the absence of a loved one.  The poem was written for her father who taught statistics at Georgia State University.

     Sine Qua Non     by A. E. Stallings

       Your absence, father, is nothing. It is naught—
       The factor by which nothing will multiply,
       The gap of a dropped stitch, the needle's eye
       Weeping its black thread. It is the spot
       Blindly spreading behind the looking glass.
       It is the startled silences that come
       When the refrigerator stops its hum,
       And crickets pause to let the winter pass.

       Your absence, father, is nothing—for it is
       Omega's long last O, memory's elision,
       The fraction of impossible division,
       The element I move through, emptiness,
       The void stars hang in, the interstice of lace,
       The zero that still holds the sum in place.

"Sine Qua Non" is found in Stallings' collection Hapax (Northwestern University Press, 2006) and also in the anthology Strange Attractors:  Poems of Love and Mathematics (AK Peters/CRC Press, 2008).

 A wonderful collection of Stallings' poems is available at the PoetryFoundation website -- and more about this poet and her work is may be found here at her at Stallings' website.

Monday, November 8, 2021

A Hundred Thousand Billion Poems

 Celebrate Raymond Queneau (1903-1976).

     In a recent posting, mathy blogger Ben Orlin noted (here in Math with Bad Drawings)  that 2021 is the 60th anniversary of an amazing poetry collection, One Hundred Thousand Billion Poems, by Raymond Queneau.  The collection consist of 14 sonnets, with each line of each sonnet on a separate strip of paper -- allowing formation of a poem using any of the 14 first lines, any of the 14 second lines, and so on.  Here is an link to a earlier blog posting that introduces Queneau's collection and includes and interactive way to create a sonnet from the collection.

Here is a link to other postings from this blog that include Queneau.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Enjoy the Possibilities in a Multiple-Choice Poem

     Just as a test-taker mulls over which answer is correct, a poet mulls over word choices and what should come next.  South Dakota mathematician-poet Daniel May (professor at Black Hills State University) has broadly captured these decision choices in a poetry-form called a Digraph Poem or a Multiple Choice Poem.  I first learned of this idea several years ago at a Bridges Math-Art Conference at Waterloo, Canada when May and a colleague, Courtney Huse Wika, presented a paper entitled "The Poetics of a Cyclic Directed Graph" (available online here in the Bridges Archives).   In this paper is a poetry-creation by Huse Wika that involves various choices and orders of stanzas.

    This mixing of stanzas came to my attention again via a paper by May entitled "In the beginning all is null" which appeared in Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, Volume 14, Issue 1-2 (2020) as one of a group of "artist's statements."  In this latter paper, May thoughtfully describes his process of composing his poem --  he composed eight eight-line stanzas -- and the reader was to read a stanza, choose and read another stanza, and so on with a third.  In all, eight poems -- each sharing stanzas with others. 

     Recently a new online multidisciplinary journal, Poetrishy, has been born -- and it's first issue features another Multiple-Choice/Digraph poem by Dan May entitled "What the Body Does Next" --and available here.   Although you will need to follow the link I've offered to actually read the poem, I offer below a small screen-shot  -- so that you can get a sense of its structure.

Issue 1 of Poetrishy also contains work by these mathy poets -- Larry Lesser, Marian Christie, and  Marion Deutsche Cohen.  And several more authors whose work is fun to explore.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Interview a Math Woman -- then Write and Win . . .

     Amalie "Emmy" Noether (1885-1932) is one of the outstanding mathematicians of all-time -- and yet, during her lifetime she got very little of the recognition that she deserved.

Consider these lines:
          Today history books proclaim that Noether
          is the greatest mathematician
          her sex has produced.  They say she was good --
          for a woman.    
              a stanza from my poem "My Dance is Mathematics"

In the past, people both inside and outside of mathematics have discriminated against women and minorities -- but the Association for Women in Mathematics -- AWM -- works to change that.   One of their activities to increase awareness of math-woman and their achievements is an annual essay contest.

Here is this year's announcement:

To increase awareness of women’s ongoing contributions to mathematics, the Association for Women in Mathematics and Math for America are cosponsoring an essay contest for biographies based on interviews of women working in or retired from mathematical careers. The contest is open to students in Grades 6–8, Grades 9–12, and Undergraduate.    For more information, contact the organizer, Dr. Johanna Franklin, at johanna.n.franklin@hofstra.edu or see the contest webpage at
https://awm-math.org/awards/student-essay-contest/.   The deadline is February 1, 2022.