Tuesday, February 27, 2024

A poem-title that drew me in -- "Calculus I, II, III"

      A poetry event that I often enjoy is the posting by the Academy of American Poets of a poem-a-day -- today's poem is found here  and  information about the posting is found here at Poets.org.  my background in mathematics helped me to be especially pleased early this month (on 2/2) when the daily poem (written by poet and artist Brad Walrond) was entitled "Calculus I, II, III" -- and if offers reflection on different levels of learning.  Below I offer a few lines from the poem; the complete poem is available at this link.

from     Calculus I, II, and III    by Brad Walrond

      . . .    this calculus

     —how one body
     relates to another—

     that disturbs all the peace

     is the same as learning
     their one two threes       . . .

   Copyright © 2024 by Brad Walrond.   Read more here.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Shaping poems with Pascal's Triangle

      One of my favorite websites to visit is "Poetry and Mathematics" -- a blog from poet Marian Christie.  Today I focus on her posting of poems with word-lengths structured by Pascal's Triangle; here is a sample:

Christie's complete Pascal Triangle posting -- with a triangle for each season -- is available at this link

Monday, February 19, 2024

Mathematician, Poet -- Blind to the worth of Women

     As we study mathematics and learn of outstanding mathematicians, many of us do not also learn which of those mathematicians also were poets.  A posting that I found recently in Marian Christie's blog, Poetry and Mathematics, features poetry by  Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell (1831-39).

     Maxwell's verse also is featured in the math-poetry anthology, Strange Attractors:  Poems of Love and Mathematics (A.K Peters, Ltd., 2008);  preview available here at amazon.com.

     Below I offer a stanza from a Maxwell poem (posted in this blog back in December, 2015) -- a stanza that shows the long-mistaken attitude that has existed about inferior abilities of math-women: 

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Poems of Math -- from a teacher and his students

      Occasionally I Google the pair "mathematics, poetry" to see what a web search can find for me.  Many of the sites found this way are familiar -- including this blog and poetry I have cited herein.  But a few days ago I found a new site -- posted by the New England Literary Resource Center and featuring poems by a GED teacher Phillip Howard (at the Adult Literacy Center at Dorchester, MA) and his students.  Howard asks his students to write poems about math as a way of communicating their accomplishments and frustrations.   Here is the poem that Howard offers his students; their responses are collected here

       Me & Math       by  Phillip Howard

          I have a problem … a math problem
          Math is always throwing problems at me
          I solve 1 and Boom   Math throws a harder 1
          A Brain Buster … so I rage
          But I can’t GIVE UP MATH
          Math is in my blood … PROBLEMS CALL 2 ME
          I want 2 BREAK THE HABIT … but I can’t
          So I push MATH
          I push on the WEB
          I push on the STREETS
          I push in the CLASS
          I push MATH 2 YOU
          So YOU 2 have a MATH PROBLEM

Monday, February 12, 2024

Math Poems for Students of All Ages

      In my recent use of Google -- in search of mathy poems -- I came across this website:  38 Math Poems for Students in All Grade Levels (a featured page at weareteachers.com).  It contains these words:

"Poetry can transforms kids’ attitudes about math exponentially!"

Here's a sample.

And here is  a link to more about poet Rebecca Kai Dotlich.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Rules that someone made up -- Is that MATH?

      As frequent readers of this blog know, I am indebted to many people for their contributions of poems -- their own and links to others.  An alert to today's poem came from Canadian poet Alice Major -- with previous contibutions to this blog found at this link.   The poem, "BOUNDARY CONDITIONS"  by Sneha Madhavan-Reese was published in the journal Rattle I offer, below, its opening and closing stanzas, followed by a link to the complete poem.

from   BOUNDARY CONDITIONS     by   Sneha Madhavan-Reese

                    who but men blame the angels for the wild
                           exceptionalism of men?   
 —Sam Sax, “Anti-Zionist Abecedarian”

       Along the border of any governed region, there exists a value which must
       satisfy its laws. This is a rule I learned for solving differential equations.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Going to Mars -- film profile of poet Nikki Giovanni

     Poet Nikki Giovanni is someone I much admire -- for her poetry and for her activism -- and recently I had had a chance to see the documentary film "Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project."  I valued learning more about Giovanni's life and was reminded to revisit her poetry.   In her 1975 collection, The Woman and the Men (of which I have an autographed copy), I re-found her poem "The Way I Feel" and I offer below its mathy final stanza during this 2024 leap year.   

from  THE WAY I FEEL   by Nikki Giovanni

            in my mind you're a clock
            and i'm the second hand sweeping
            around you sixty times an hour
            twenty-four hours a day
            three-hundred-sixty-five days a year
            and an extra day
            in leap year
            cause that's the way
            that's the way
            that's the way i feel
            about you

from The Women and the Men (William Morrow & Company, New York, 1975)

Friday, February 2, 2024

Distance and Time

        Poetry 180 was a project initiated back in 2002 by the poet laureate Billy Collins -- a project with the goal of providing for students a thoughtful and accessible poem for each day of the school year.  A recent email alerted me to a slightly mathy poem within that collection -- Poem 081, "After Years" by Iowa poet Ted Kooser (also a former US poet laureate);  I offer Kooser's poem below.

From Solo: A Journal of Poetry, 1996.

Today, February 2, is Groundhog Day.  Celebrate the day with some poems