Friday, December 31, 2021

Year-end Counting -- with Gratitude

     I count --
     and count on --
     mathy poems shared
     here by countless poets. THANK YOU!

Monday, December 27, 2021

Amid uncertainties -- compose a Fib

How many Corona-virus cases will the new year bring?

What to say . . .
I gather my thoughts
and hope I can make a poem.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Christmas is coming . . .

     This morning I did a blog search to see which of my previous posts included the word "Christmas" -- and this link leads to the results.  And, for me as for many, a very familiar favorite (also posted back in December 2015) -- linking Christmas and numbers -- is this:

This Wikipedia link offers some history of this song.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

One-sentence Poems

     Recently I came across the website and, enjoying the items' brevity, I did some browsing -- and term-searching -- looking for mathy poems.  Here are two samples by teacher and poet Jeffrey Park -- originally from Baltimore, now a teacher in Germany.

By Degrees   

She always sleeps with protractor and compass
on the bedside table, never knowing when
a sudden fit of geometry will strike in the night.


Numbers pelt down from an infinite sky, neither irrational nor imaginary,
the angular ones, 4s and 7s, doing maximum damage.

These one-sentence poems -- and another --  by Jeffrey Park are found online here.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Mathematician with the Soul of a Poet

      One of my long-time math-poetry connections has been with math-teacher-artist-writer Sandra DeLozier Coleman (This link leads to her prior appearances in this blog.)  Coleman has had a long-term interest in the Russian mathematician-and-poet Sofia Kovalevskaya (1850-1891) and has recently published Mathematician with the Soul of a Poet -- Poems and Plays of Sofia Kovalevskaya  (Bohannon Hall Press, 2021, available here from; this volume that contains Coleman's translations from Russian along with background and thoughtful commentary.  The opening section of the book begins with these words from Kovalevskaya:

     I understand that you are surprised I can work at the same time
     in both literature and mathematics.  Many who have not had the 
     chance to learn more about mathematics confuse it with arithmetic
     and consider it to be a dry and arid science.  In truth, however,
     this science requires the greatest imagination, and one of the most
     respected mathematicians of our century has very rightly said
     that it is not possible to be a great mathematician without having
     the soul of a poet.                                                     S V. Kovalevskaya

Thank you, Sandy Coleman, for sharing Kovalevskaya's words with us!

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

STEM Writing Contests -- reminders . . .


For the reason above -- and for the possibility of winning recognition and prizes --  please consider the following contests.

The NYTimes has announced its 3rd annual STEM Writing Contest -- information is found here and 500-word submissions are invited during the period Feb 2-March 9, 2022.

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 math-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, please visit the contest webpage or  contact the organizer, Dr. Johanna Franklin, at johanna.n.franklin (at)   The submission deadline is February 1, 2022.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Stories of Quadrilaterals

     Sometimes I have time to browse my shelves and rediscover old favorites.  Several of this blog's much-read poems have come from Scottish author Brian McCabe (Find blog search results at this link) -- and below I offer the first part of McCabe's two-part poem ("Two Quadrilaterals") entitled "The Restless Square."

Two Quadrilaterals    by Brian McCabe

     Part 1.  The Restless Square  

          There was a square who yearned
          to become something else.

          It stretched its legs to mimic
          an elegant rectangle but
          lost its balance, leaned over
          in a perilous parallelogram.    

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Divided -- for facial recognition

Recently-retired Virginia dentist Eric Forsbergh sent me a mathy poem about the fascinating -- and controversial  -- process of facial recognition.   Enjoy!

                  Data-driven approach divided the face into 63 segments.
                                                                Nature Genetics, Jan. 2021

       This, you can’t refute:
       How data banks embed us.

       Graphics now drag anyone
       into granularity. As if
       the features of a wave drew back
       to reveal a pebble beach.