Monday, August 21, 2023

Shaping a Poem with Fibonacci numbers

      One of my favorite websites to visit is this varied and thoughtful "Poetry and Mathematics"  collection of postings by Marian Christie.

     Throughout history, people who write poems have often been aided by constraints.  When we sit down to write, writing the words that first occur to us -- then shaping the word into extended meanings but following a pattern of rhythm or rhyme or word-count . . . or . . .  .  For many poets the sonnet, for example, has been a poetic structure that shapes thoughts into special arrangements of words.

     In long-ago days, when print and screen versions of poems were not easily available, rhyme schemes were an important aid -- helping one's memory to keep a poem in one's head.  Now, aided by widely available print and online visibility, poetry has moved into new forms -- including a variety of visual arrangements.  

     Brief like the Haiku, the Fib -- a six-line poem whose syllable-counts are the first six Fibonacci numbers (1,1,2,3,5,8) -- has become popular.  A different and interesting use of the Fibonacci numbers (a sequence in which each succeeding number is the sum of the two that precede it) also occurs.  In her "Poetry and Mathematics" blog several years ago, Marian Christie made a posting entitled "Pathways,"  in which she used the first eleven Fibonacci numbers (1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55, and 89) as the numbers of letters in each word and in each line.

     Here are the first 8 lines -- Christie's complete poem is available here.

from   Pathways        by Marian Christie

           by life’s patterns: a whorl   . . .

The completion of Christie's poem -- and her blog -- is available at this link.

No comments:

Post a Comment