Based in Melbourne, Australia, Tom Petsinis is a mathematics adviser at Deakin University and is author of nine poetry collections as well as theatrical works and books of fiction. He also is involved in the worldwide BRIDGES organization --which meets annually to investigate and celebrate connections between mathematics and the arts. This year's BRIDGES conference will be held July 27-31 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and next year's conference is planned for August 1-5, 2024 at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.
Below is "Zero" -- a mathy poem by Petsinis which is also offered as a sample at this BRIDGES link (a link that advertises and celebrates those poets participating in the 2022 conference).
Zero by Tom Petsinis
Numbers must fall from breathless highs,
The second wave shamble along the shore,
For restrictions to be lifted from our lives –
Forget wage rise, profit, budget surpluses,
Zero’s become the new meaning of more,
A silver bullet against infinitesimal mites,
The Holy Grail producing much from less,
If nothing else the table cloth’s ring stain
From that last supper nobody got to enjoy.
Zero, grasped wholly in the dead of night
With both pupils open wide to possibility:
The halo covering the many-spiked crown,
The no thing existing fully in its paradox,
The divisor that takes us to the other side.
“Zero” is in Petsinis' collection Isolation (Australian Scholarly Publishing Pty, 2021).
A big THANK YOU is due to Sarah Glaz, mathematician-poet and coordinator of BRIDGES poetry activity. Here, from Glaz's website, are links to additional BRIDGES programs with poems by Petsinis (and lots of other BRIDGES poets): virtual reading in 2021; 2018 in Stockholm; 2016 in Jyvaskyla.
Recently I have learned from Petsinis of a theatrical work he has just completed -- a play that celebrates the mathematician Sofia Kovalevskaya -- a figure I greatly admire. I look forward to an opportunity to see it -- perhaps at a BRIDGES conference. This blog posting offers a link to a poem I wrote to celebrate her (and spelling her name slightly differently, "Kovalevsky").