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: 

Fano Plane -- diagram from Wikipedia

Using the Fano plane as a template (see tiny version of template) shown below), creation of a Fano plane poem involves several choices.  FIRST, chose a theme to guide your word choice and then write a word inside each enlarged vertex.  Then, number the lines using 1-7 and for each line write a stanza using the three words for that segment.  Assemble these stanzas into a poem. 

Fano plane poem diagram

A Fano Plane poem by Dan May (and additional poetry by his colleague, Courtney Huse-Wika) is contained in this handout, "Mathematical Poetry for Everyone"  -- from a presentation by May at a recent mathematics conference.

To see two earlier blog postings involving work by Dan May, follow this link.  

And, give yourself the adventure of creating a Fano Plane poem.

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