Monday, May 30, 2022

All truths wait in all things . . .

       Tomorrow, May 31, is the 130th anniversary of the birth of American poet, Walt Whitman.  Below I include a few Whitman lines (with the mathy terms "logic" and "proves") that offer food for thought.

The rest of this poem and lots more by Whitman are found here at

 Whitman's complete Song of Myself (52 poems) is available at this link.
A SEARCH using Whitman will lead to more of his work in in this blog.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Mathematics might be dangerous!

       Censorship of Math Texts: A Syllable-Square with Questions
       Florida educators have banned
       Lots of mathematics texts because
       The books’ problems-to-solve include some
       REAL problems – bias and racism!
       Are the banners blind to their bias?
       Do they fear exposure and critique?
       Do they worry that knowing the need
       for drastic changes may open doors
       to fair, equal treatment of us all?

Here is a link to a news article about the Florida censorship -- written by Moriah Balingit, from 5/9/2022 in the The Washington Post.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Crisscrossing Infinity

     Poet and painter and literary theorist Paul Hartal was born in Hungary, with higher-education experiences in Israel and the U.S. -- and is now a long-term Canadian.  Recently Hartal contacted me to share a couple of his poems that involved mathematical topics -- and I offer one of these below, "Crisscrossing Infinity." Hartal's poem refers to a war memorial constructed using the pattern that first appeared in the sculpture "Endless Column" by Romanian artist Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957) and is on display at New York's MA, Museum of Modern Art.

       Crisscrossing Infinity       by Paul Hartal

       In the city of Targu Jiu, Romania,
       an abstract sculpture rises
       30 meters high.
       It is made of 15 zinc and cast iron
       rhomboidal modules
       (plus a half unit).

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Math-Poetry -- when distinct worlds collide . . .

     Carol Dorf has been a long-time leader in math poetry projects.  A now-retired secondary school math teacher from California, Carol is the poetry editor of  the online journal Talking Writing -- an online journal that has included a variety of mathy poems.   Recently, at the Joint Mathematics Meetings, Carol gave a presentation entitled "Poetry of Mathematical Definitions" -- the abstract for this talk begins with this provocative sentence:

Mathematical poetry begins when worlds we consider distinct collide.

Carol's poetry-editorship for Talking Writing has led to many math-related poems being published therein.  Here is a link to those poems and a bit of other math-related content;  the following list includes names of writers whose work has been included there:  Robin Chapman,    Marion Deutsche Cohen,    Allison Hedge Coke,    Mary Cresswell,    Catherine Daly,    Carol Dorf,    Iris Jamahl Dunkle,    Sarah Glaz,    JoAnne Growney,    Athena Kildegaard,    Larry Lesser,      Elizabeth Langosy , Marco Maisto,    Alice Major,    Katie Manning,    Daniel May,    David Morimoto,    Giavanna Munafo,    Karen Ohlson,    Eveline Pye,    Stephanie Strickland,    Amy Uyematsu,    Sue Brannan Walker,    and Jean Wolff.  Some of the poets have been featured more than once and to find all work by a particular author, SEARCH is recommended.

And here, from Talking Writing,  is one of Carol Dorf's fascinating poems:

       Lost Information     by Carol Dorf

       Visualize groups: there’s the babysitting co-op,
       with slips of scrip the children color during
       quarterly potlucks; and more than enough churches
       each with study evenings, and fundraising committees;    

Monday, May 16, 2022

Bridges Math-Arts Conference 2022

      Founded by Reza Sarhangi (1952-2016) in 1998, the BRIDGES organization has had annual conferences and is an ongoing supporter of links between mathematics and the various arts.  This year's conference is scheduled for August 1-5, 2022 at Aalto University in Helsinki and Espoo, Finland.

Bridges Conference Information is available at this link.

Browsing and searching on the BRIDGES website can lead to a huge variety of math-arts connections -- including invited and contributed paper presentations, an exhibition of mathematical art, workshops, films, a poetry reading, music and theater -- including both descriptive and performance events.  Here is a link to a list of links to lots of exhibitions.   And this link leads to the results of a search in the Archive of BRIDGES papers that include the term "Poetry" in the title.

Adding to what the BRIDGES site includes is this rich source of math-poetry material at the University of Connecticut website of mathmatician-poet Sarah Glaz -- an active organizer of poetry at BRIDGES conferences.

               Poetry and
               build BRIDGES to

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Poem of the Census Enumerator

          When I look at
          the person I
          meet on the street,
          what do I see?

One of the powerful and relevant poems that has come into my view recently is "Counting" by Margarita Engle.  Engle is the author of many children's books and, from June 2017 to June 2019, she served as the Poetry Foundation's Young People's Poet Laureate.  I offer this poem below -- and invite you to ponder the discrimination-issues it raises and the COMPLEXITY of counting -- and then to follow the links to explore more of Engle's work:

       Counting      by Margarita Engle  

                    Harry Franck, from the United States of America - Census Enumerator

       I came to Panama planning to dig
       the Eighth Wonder of the World,
       but I was told that white men
       should never be seen working
       with shovels, so I took a police job,
       and now I've been transferred
       to the census.

       I roam the jungle, counting laborers
       who live in shanties and those who live
       on the run, fugitives who are too angry
       to keep working for silver in a system
       where they know that others
       earn gold.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Inspirational/Poetic Quotes about Mathematics

     The poetic quotes below sample what is found in an article by Natasha Irshad, "Inspirational quotes about the importance of Mathematics" -- found in ACADEMIA, an educational magazine from Pakistan.

     Mathematics is
     a place where you can
     do things which you can't
     do in the real world.

           -- Marcus du Sautoy

          Pure mathematics
          is the poetry of
          logical ideas.

                -- Albert Einstein

               Sometimes the questions
               are complicated,
               and the answers
               are simple.

                     -- Dr. Seuss


Thursday, May 5, 2022

Build a Poem using a Fano Plane

     Many of the mathematical poetic forms introduced in this blog are structures that can be used to build a poet's fragmented thoughts into complete and poetic form.  The Fib, for example, gives a syllable structure to help a writer shape an idea. Syllable-squares are another simple structure and -- familiar also but much more complex -- the fourteen-line Sonnet in iambic pentameter.

     Math Professor Dan May of South Dakota often works with an interesting and more complex structure called the Fano Plane -- a finite projective plane of order 2 -- and composed of 7 vertices with 7 connecting lines, each joining three vertices: 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

"A Mother's Math is Never Done"

     In just a few days (on May 8) we will celebrate Mother's Day 2022 in the US.  And I am thinking back to the July 2018 issue the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics  -- a special issue with the theme Mathematics and Motherhood.   One of the poems presented in that issue is "A Mother's Math is Never Done,"  a sestina by JHM Editor, Gizem Karaali -- and I offer its initial stanza below, followed by a link to the complete poem.

A Mother's Math is Never Done    by Gizem Karaali

Beyond dark clouds is the blue sky.
The day will come to do your math,
Once you put away the clutter.
Someday again you know you'll fly.
Now's not the journey's end, just a detour on the path.
Only today, hold your breath, for you are a mother.     

 Go here for the rest of this sestina.  Enjoy especially the final stanza!!

The entire "Table of Contents" for Mathematics and Motherhood is available at this link.