Saturday, September 30, 2023

Geometry in Poetry

     Poet Marian Christie's blog, Poetry and Mathematics -- found at -- is a website I much enjoy visiting; there I learn many many new things.  (Here is a link that leads to a list of my previous postings that feature Christie and her work.)

    The idea that the shape of a poem may be part of its message is not new -- but Christie has brought more than line-length and syllable-count into the picture and today I focus on her Circular Poems 

A Circular poem by Marian Christie

Monday, September 25, 2023

Poetry on the Side . . .

     My friend Gregory Coxson (engineering professor at the US Naval Academy) is an explorer of new ideas and I enjoy his frequent emails that share his discovered math-poetry connections.  Recently Coxson introduced me to the website of retired Virginia Tech professor Ezra Brown and, following the link Inspirational and Fun Stuff, I found this interesting collection of number-related Haiku --  beginning with a recollection of September 11. 

Day of Horror

There is no doubt that
on September Eleventh
God sat down and cried.

“I worked hard…”

Bach was prolific:
One thousand compositions
and twenty children.  

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Chat GPT writes about Emmy Noether

       Learning about AI and exploring its possibilities has been an interesting recent activity for me.  One of my own favorite math-related poems is a poem I wrote many years ago about mathematician Emmy Noether -- and that poem, "My Dance is Mathematics," is available here in this blog at this link.  I offer below a poem from ChatGPT;  my instructions were:  write a poem about Emmy Noether -- and I got this:

     In realms of math where brilliance takes its flight,
     There dwells a star whose radiance shines so bright,
     Emmy Noether, a name of boundless grace,
     A mathematician whose legacy we embrace.

     Born in Erlangen, a spark in her eyes,
     She defied the norms, reached for the skies,
     In a time when women faced a daunting door,
     She pushed it open, forevermore.  

Friday, September 15, 2023

Attitudes toward Mathematics

     A wonderful place to visit is PLANET INFINITY -- a website maintained by Rashmi Kathuria, math teacher from Delhi, India.  Exploring this site I found, in the posting for July 24. 2012, the following poem.   Rashmi Kathuria introduces the poem with the following statement.   

     "Yesterday one of my school student came to me and shared her self composed poem on her feelings regarding Mathematics. Shreeya composed it when she was in grade 8."

A posting of student poetry from Planet Infinity.

Mathematics is a beautiful subject. It is the way in which it is taught and learnt makes it difficult or boring.    -- Rashmi Kathuria

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Poetry of Science

     One of the interesting regular online postings is a new science poem EVERY FRIDAY -- offered by Sam Illingworth via an email subscription or in his  Poetry of Science blog.  Recently I have found and valued Illingworth's interview late in 2020 with poet Donald Beagle, author of the poetry collection, Driving into the Dreamtime (Library Partners Press, 2020).

     One of Beagle's publications involved editing a poetry collection by James Radcliffe Squires (1917-1993) -- a collection in which many of the poems are informed by science.  Here is a sample from Squires' collection Where the Compass Spins -- now presented in Radcliffe Squires: Selected Poems; edited by Donald Beagle).

          “…We are one motion and we see
          Another. Then we overtake two flying birds
          And at the crisis of the wan parabola
          Assume their speed. Thus motion dies…”

The lines above are from Squires' poem “The Subway Bridge, Charles Station to Kendall.”  This same poem concludes by touching upon the Einsteinian concept of the gravitational bending of light: “Faring with the straightness that curves. The line / Of brightness bending as it nears the sun.”    When you have an available hour, visit and enjoy the whole of Illingworth's 2020 posting about Donald Beagle's poetry.

Friday, September 8, 2023

Is reading POETRY like reading MATHEMATICS?

Back in June I found an interesting article online by USAToday Entertainment Editor Pamela Avila  that raises questions about how to read poetry -- questions that are similar to those asked about reading mathematics.  I offer samples below:  

Here are words from poet Clint Smith, author of new poetry collection Above Ground and writer for The Atlantic:

"Sometimes we're taught to read poetry as if it's a code that we have to unlock or that it's a puzzle or a geometric proof with a specific answer," says  "I don't think that that's what poems are or should be."  ("Counting Descent" is a mathy poem that explores Smith's family history.)

The beauty of a poem can lie in not knowing. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Steam Powered Poetry

       Some of us -- perhaps because of the structure of our minds, perhaps because of our education -- focus strongly on a few key ideas.  And some of us -- perhaps this is common among teachers -- focus on the linking of ideas that we encounter.   My own learning activity seems to be hybrid and to focus on linking and integrating -- perhaps stemming from my childhood mix of rural and urban environments, perhaps from my interests in both mathematics and poetry.

    It is a delight for me to learn of growing numbers of teachers who are combining STEAM subjects with the arts -- and one of the outstanding contributors to this effort is children's author and teacher Heidi Bee Roemer.  Roemer is one of the contributors to the website Steam Powered Poetry and recently I found on YouTube her poem. "Going Bananas" -- about mean, median, and mode .  A text version of "Going Bananas" may be found in this April 2021 posting.

Here is a link to a broad selection of steam powered poetry videos.