**SEARCH BOX**will lead you to a 2010 posting of "Ghost Stories Written" -- an algebra-related poem by Charles Simic; this Poetry Foundation link will lead to a host of other seasonal poems.

## Thursday, October 30, 2014

## Tuesday, October 28, 2014

### Counting into the Future . . .

Remember that you have only until November 1 to submit a winning "poem of provocation and witness" to the Split This Rock Poetry Contest. If you don't already, you will want also to subscribe to Split This Rock's Poem of the Week. This week's poem ("

In the Great Depression of 2047,

a time of sorrow rivaled only

by the Global Unification Wars

of Spring 2029 to 2033,

in the Merlona Plague of 2104,

in the year of the forest die-off,

after the atmospheric hue reduction . . . .

From

**Past Tense**" by Sam Taylor) opens with these numbers:In the Great Depression of 2047,

a time of sorrow rivaled only

by the Global Unification Wars

of Spring 2029 to 2033,

in the Merlona Plague of 2104,

in the year of the forest die-off,

after the atmospheric hue reduction . . . .

From

*Nude Descending an Empire*(University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014).*Apatelodes merlona*is a species of moth.
Labels:
contest,
count,
future,
poetry,
Sam Taylor,
Split This Rock,
year

## Sunday, October 26, 2014

### Dimensions of Discovery

Along the one-dimensional straight line

there are points and segments

but no curves or squares.

there are points and segments

and squares and spheres.

there are points and segments

but no curves or squares.

In the flat plane of two dimensions

there are points and segments

and circles and squares.

In the vast space of three dimensions there are points and segments

and squares and spheres.

In a space of four dimensions

there is more than

we can imagine.

## Thursday, October 23, 2014

### ABC of statistics

Songwriter Larry Lesser is a co-organizer (with Gizem Karaali) of a poetry-with-mathematics reading at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Antonio next January. And sometimes Lesser writes poetry. He has told me that his poem below was in response to an abecedarian poem in a 2006 paper of mine, "Mathematics of Poetry" published in the online journal JOMA -- and available here.

A

Better

Confidence:

Data.

Expectations

Fit

Good.

**Statistic Acrostic**by Lawrence Mark Lesser and Dennis K. PearlA

Better

Confidence:

Data.

Expectations

Fit

Good.

## Monday, October 20, 2014

### Martin Gardner collected poems

Last week the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) had a special program honoring Martin Gardner (1914-2010); tomorrow (October 21) is the 100th anniversary of his birth. The shelving in the MAA meeting room displayed copies of many of Gardner's approximately one hundred books. However, none of the books displayed were books of poetry and, indeed, Gardner referred to himself as "an occasional versifier" but not a poet. Nonetheless he helped to popularize OULIPO techniques in his monthly (1956-81)

*Scientific American*column, "Mathematical Games," and he also was a collector and editor of anthologies, parodies, and annotated versions of familiar poetic works. Here is a link to his*Favorite Poetic Parodies*. And one may find*Famous Poems from Bygone Days*and*The Annotated Casey at the Bat*and half a dozen other titles by searching at amazon.com using "martin gardner poetry."
Labels:
city,
game,
John William Burgon,
Jonathan Vos Post,
MAA,
Martin Gardner,
mathematical,
Oulipo,
parody,
poetry,
Scientific American,
time

## Wednesday, October 15, 2014

### Poetry Reading 1-11-15 at JMM in San Antonio

**at the 2015 Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM)**

*interested in*mathematical poetry are invited. Join the gathering to share poems and to enjoy the company of like-minded poetic-math people! The reading is sponsored by the

*Journal of Humanistic Mathematics*and will be hosted by Gizem Karaali and Larry Lesser.

Although last-minute decisions to participate are possible -- you may simply show up and sign up to read --

**we invite and encourage poets to**, and, as a result, be listed on our printed program. Inquiries and submissions (

__submit poetry__(≤ 3 poems, ≤ 5 minutes)__and a bio in advance__**by December 1, 2014**) may be made to Gizem Karaali (gizem.karaali@pomona.edu).

## Friday, October 10, 2014

### Taken out of context . . .

Sometimes good lines fit so well into their poems that their individual merits go unrecognized. And then, taken out of context, they can lead lives of their own. Here is a start for a collection of such lines.

From Poets.org here are two lines from "Ceriserie" by Joshua Clover:

Mathematics: Everyone rolling dice and flinging Fibonacci, going to the opera, counting everything.

Fire: The number between four and five.

From Poets.org here are two lines from "Ceriserie" by Joshua Clover:

Mathematics: Everyone rolling dice and flinging Fibonacci, going to the opera, counting everything.

Fire: The number between four and five.

Labels:
counting,
Fibonacci,
five,
four,
Heather Green,
Joshua Clover,
Lana Turner,
poem,
right angle,
zero

## Wednesday, October 8, 2014

### Love Physics

It turns out that one of the disadvantages of a long-term blog with lots of worthy material is that sometimes I lose track of fine work that I want to post. And sometimes I find it again. This morning I came across this poem by California conservationist Richard Retecki.

equal forces

oppositely directed

canceled to zero

then we tricked you

exchanging pressure for light

**Love Physics**by Richard Reteckiequal forces

oppositely directed

canceled to zero

then we tricked you

exchanging pressure for light

## Saturday, October 4, 2014

### Can poetry change the climate for frogs?

Poems affect our spirits as well as our minds. And Split This Rock is looking for poems that protest and witness, world-changing poems. Go here for information about their Eighth Annual Poetry Contest (with submission deadline November 1, 2014).

Here in this blog, as I present connections between poetry and mathematics, I provide some poems of protest and advocacy. I advocate attention to problems of climate change -- to keep our world habitable; I advocate full recognition of women in the sciences -- for a not dissimilar reason. We must not waste our resources.

Here in this blog, as I present connections between poetry and mathematics, I provide some poems of protest and advocacy. I advocate attention to problems of climate change -- to keep our world habitable; I advocate full recognition of women in the sciences -- for a not dissimilar reason. We must not waste our resources.

### January - September -- Titles, dates of posts

Scroll
down to find titles and dates of posts in 2014. At the bottom is a links to lists of posts through 2013 and 2012 and 2011 -- and all the way back to March 2010 when this
blog was begun.

Sept 28 Journal of Math in the Arts features Poetry

Sept 23 Clearing the Air with a Poem

Sept 20 Marching for Climate

Sept 15 Remembering Lee Lorch

Sept 11 Hailstone numbers shape a poem

Sept 7 Hypertext poetry

Sept 3 Mathy poems via e-mail

**This link leads to a PDF file that lists searchable topics and names of poets and mathematicians presented herein.**Sept 28 Journal of Math in the Arts features Poetry

Sept 23 Clearing the Air with a Poem

Sept 20 Marching for Climate

Sept 15 Remembering Lee Lorch

Sept 11 Hailstone numbers shape a poem

Sept 7 Hypertext poetry

Sept 3 Mathy poems via e-mail

## Sunday, September 28, 2014

### Journal of Math in the Arts features Poetry

A special issue of the

Ten times the square root of a flock

of geese, seeing the clouds collect,

flew towards lake Manasa, one-eighth

took off for the Sthalapadmini forest.

But unconcerned, three couples frolicked

in the water amongst a multitude of

lotus flowers. Please tell, sweet girl,

how many geese were in the flock.

*Journal of Mathematics and the Arts*entitled "Poetry and Mathematics" is now available online at this link. An introduction by guest editor Sarah Glaz is available (for free download) here. In this opening piece, one of the items that Glaz includes is her own translation of a math-puzzle poem from Bhaskara's (1114-1185)*Lilavati*that is charming. I offer it here:Ten times the square root of a flock

of geese, seeing the clouds collect,

flew towards lake Manasa, one-eighth

took off for the Sthalapadmini forest.

But unconcerned, three couples frolicked

in the water amongst a multitude of

lotus flowers. Please tell, sweet girl,

how many geese were in the flock.

## Tuesday, September 23, 2014

### Clearing the Air with a Poem

Every poem has a climate -- a collection of emotional tones that overlay and underlay its words. Today -- as the U.N. meets in NY to discuss the future climate of our planet -- I have been looking for mathy poems with a climate of advocacy, verses that let the world know that we must, soon and vigorously, take action to keep our earth habitable.

One of the things I found is a poem (involving a couple of numbers and mathy words) by Simon Armitage that is printed on material that cleanses the air around it by absorbing pollutants. A small photo from the website of Sheffield University is shown below -- and I urge you to follow the Sheffield link for the story of the poem and this link to see the full poem more clearly and the story behind it. Here is Armitage's opening stanza.

One of the things I found is a poem (involving a couple of numbers and mathy words) by Simon Armitage that is printed on material that cleanses the air around it by absorbing pollutants. A small photo from the website of Sheffield University is shown below -- and I urge you to follow the Sheffield link for the story of the poem and this link to see the full poem more clearly and the story behind it. Here is Armitage's opening stanza.

## Saturday, September 20, 2014

### Marching for Climate

Today I want to call attention to the growing global concern about climate change accentuated by the United Nations Climate Summit that opens September 23. Tomorrow (September 21) I will travel on a 6 AM bus from Silver Spring to NYC to be part of the People's Climate March. It is said that more than 500 buses of protesters are heading to New York. 29 marching bands will provide the soundtrack. 26 city blocks are being cordoned off for the march's line-up. At the same time, more than 2,000 People's Climate events are taking place in over 160 countries around the world—from Hong Kong to Buenos Aires and from New York to San Francisco.

To have a small carbon footprint I will march tomorrow with only a small sign -- one that wears a 3x3-square reminder that dates back to a 1968 essay, "Tragedy of the Commons," by ecologist Garrett Hardin (1915-2003).

WHY is it taking us so long to act to preserve a habitable planet? Do we not care about the world we are leaving for our grandchildren?

To have a small carbon footprint I will march tomorrow with only a small sign -- one that wears a 3x3-square reminder that dates back to a 1968 essay, "Tragedy of the Commons," by ecologist Garrett Hardin (1915-2003).

**There is no****place to throw****that's away.**WHY is it taking us so long to act to preserve a habitable planet? Do we not care about the world we are leaving for our grandchildren?

## Monday, September 15, 2014

### Remembering Lee Lorch

Lee Lorch was a mathematician known for his social activism on behalf of black Americans as well as for his mathematics. He died in February of this year in Toronto, at age 98. A life-long communist and a life-long crusader. Last Thursday I attended a memorial service (organized by Joe Auslander, a poetry-lover who one day had introduced me to the work of Frank Dux) for Lorch -- sponsored by the Mathematical Association for America and held at the MAA Carriage House in Washington, DC. Friends and colleagues of Lorch spoke of his positive energy and the ways that he had enriched the lives of students and colleagues, of friends and strangers. One of the speakers, Linda Braddy, a staff member of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), did not talk about Lorch but about strategies for opening mathematical doors (as he had done) to new students.

Labels:
Against Infinity,
arc,
circles,
Joseph Auslander,
Lee Lorch,
Lillian Morrison,
Linda Braddy,
locus,
MAA,
point

## Thursday, September 11, 2014

### Hailstone numbers shape a poem

One of my favorite mathy poets is Halifax mathematician Robert Dawson -- his work is complex and inventive, and fun to puzzle over. Dawson's webpage at St Mary's University lists his mathematical activity; his poetry and fiction are available in several issues of the

Can a poem be written by following a formula? Despite the tendency of most of us to say NO to this question we also may admit to the fact that a formula applied to words can lead to arrangements and thoughts not possible for us who write from our own learning and experiences. How else to be REALLY NEW but to try a new method? Set a chimpanzee at a typewriter or apply a mathematical formula.

Below we offer Dawson's "Hailstone" and follow it with his explanation of how mathematics shaped the poem from its origin as a "found passage" from the beginning of Dickens'

*Journal of Humanistic Mathematic*s and in several postings for this blog (15 April 2012, 30 November 2013, 2 March 2014) and in various other locations findable by Google.Can a poem be written by following a formula? Despite the tendency of most of us to say NO to this question we also may admit to the fact that a formula applied to words can lead to arrangements and thoughts not possible for us who write from our own learning and experiences. How else to be REALLY NEW but to try a new method? Set a chimpanzee at a typewriter or apply a mathematical formula.

Below we offer Dawson's "Hailstone" and follow it with his explanation of how mathematics shaped the poem from its origin as a "found passage" from the beginning of Dickens'

*Great Expectations.*## Sunday, September 7, 2014

### Hypertext poetry

We computer-screen readers all know hypertext; when we read along in Wikipedia or some other online document and come across an underlined term whose font color is light blue -- at such a point we may decide to keep on reading as if we had not noticed the light blue "hyperlink," or we may locate our cursor on that text, click our mouse, and link to a new screen of visual information.

My first encounter with hypertext poetry was the work of Stephanie Strickland -- in her 1999 love poem, "The Ballad of Sand and Harry Soot," available at this link. If you, however, are someone who is not yet comfortably familiar with hypertext poetry, I invite you to gain some experience with hyperlinked reading via a prose essay -- reading it first as a traditional essay and then exploring ways that hypertext can vary the experience of reading.

My first encounter with hypertext poetry was the work of Stephanie Strickland -- in her 1999 love poem, "The Ballad of Sand and Harry Soot," available at this link. If you, however, are someone who is not yet comfortably familiar with hypertext poetry, I invite you to gain some experience with hyperlinked reading via a prose essay -- reading it first as a traditional essay and then exploring ways that hypertext can vary the experience of reading.

Labels:
ballad,
electronic literature,
hyperlink,
hypertext,
poem,
poetry,
Stephanie Strickland

## Wednesday, September 3, 2014

### Mathy poems via e-mail

Publishing a blog about poetry and mathematics brings me new connections -- it is not unusual for a day to begin with an email from another poetry-math enthusiast who wants to share a link or a poem. One of these is retired USC biochemist Paul Geiger.

Using as raw material a poem by Shel Silverstein, Geiger created a 9x9 syllable-square:

Apologizing and Acknowledging Shel Silverstein's 1974 poem

"SARAH CYNTHIA SYLVIA STOUT WOULD NOT TAKE THE GARBAGE OUT"

Using as raw material a poem by Shel Silverstein, Geiger created a 9x9 syllable-square:

**S.C.S. STOUT**by Paul GeigerApologizing and Acknowledging Shel Silverstein's 1974 poem

"SARAH CYNTHIA SYLVIA STOUT WOULD NOT TAKE THE GARBAGE OUT"

Labels:
math,
Paul Geiger,
poetry,
Shel Silverstein,
square

### Jan - Aug, 2014 -- titles, dates of posts

Scroll
down to find titles and dates of posts in 2014. At the bottom is a links to lists of posts through 2013 and 2012 and 2011 -- and all the way back to March 2010 when this
blog was begun.

Aug 30 Mathy Poetry from Bridges 2014

Aug 27 Grandma Got STEM

Aug 23 Changing colors, counting syllables

Aug 19 Poetry in Math Journals

Aug 15 My best dream is floating . . .

Aug 11 Narrated by a mathematician

**This link leads to a PDF file that lists searchable topics and names of poets and mathematicians presented herein.**Aug 30 Mathy Poetry from Bridges 2014

Aug 27 Grandma Got STEM

Aug 23 Changing colors, counting syllables

Aug 19 Poetry in Math Journals

Aug 15 My best dream is floating . . .

Aug 11 Narrated by a mathematician

## Saturday, August 30, 2014

### Mathy Poetry from Bridges 2014

This year's math-arts conference, Bridges 2014, was in Korea. And a dozen of us who write poetry-with-mathematics -- unable to attend in person -- worked with coordinator Sarah Glaz to offer (on August 16, hosted by Mike Naylor) a virtual reading of work videotaped in advance by the poets and edited into a coherent whole by Steve Stamps.

The virtual reading is here on YouTube.

The virtual reading is here on YouTube.

Labels:
2014,
Bridges Conference,
Mark Willey,
mathematics,
Mike Naylor,
poetry,
poetry reading,
Sarah Glaz,
YouTube

## Wednesday, August 27, 2014

### Grandma Got STEM

It was my good fortune last weekend to meet the sister-in-law of one of my neighbors, mathematician and Harvey Mudd professor, Rachel Levy. Levy is also a blogger and her postings in Grandma Got
STEM tell of achievements of women in science.

I have looked for a poem to pair with my mention here of Grandma Got STEM. Although the following poem by Tami Haaland (found at the Poetry Foundation website) is not mathematical, it nicely brings to life a relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter -- and we wish for both of them "places to explore beyond the frame."

She’s with Grandma in front

of Grandma’s house, backed

by a willow tree, gladiola and roses.

Who did she ever want

to please? But Grandma

seems half-pleased and annoyed.

I have looked for a poem to pair with my mention here of Grandma Got STEM. Although the following poem by Tami Haaland (found at the Poetry Foundation website) is not mathematical, it nicely brings to life a relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter -- and we wish for both of them "places to explore beyond the frame."

**Little Girl**by Tami HaalandShe’s with Grandma in front

of Grandma’s house, backed

by a willow tree, gladiola and roses.

Who did she ever want

to please? But Grandma

seems half-pleased and annoyed.

Labels:
explore,
frame,
Grandma,
Rachel Levy,
STEM,
Tami Haaland

## Saturday, August 23, 2014

### Changing colors, counting syllables

**Changing Colors**

by JoAnne Growney

Blue

yoyo --

awkwardly

stopping-starting,

rising-plummeting,

seeking self-control. Please,

mother-friend-lover-child, don't

pull string. Let me collect myself.

I lift myself to the treetops,

soar with the golden eagle,

find rest on fleecy clouds.

My orb embraces

everybody --

powerful,

yellow

sun.

## Tuesday, August 19, 2014

### Poetry in Math Journals

*The Mathematical Intelligencer*(publisher of the poem by Gizem Karaali given below) and the

*Journal of Humanistic Mathematics*(an online, open-access journal edited by Mark Huber and Gizem Karaali) are periodicals that include math-related poetry in each issue. For example, in the most recent issue of JHM, we have these titles:

**Articles**:

Joining the mathematician's delirium to the poet's logic'': Mathematical Literature and Literary Mathematics by Rita Capezzi and Christine Kinsey

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways for Syllabic Variation in Certain Poetic Forms by Mike Pinter

**Poems:**

Computational Compulsions by Martin Cohen

Jeffery's Equation by Sandra J. Stein

The Math of Achilles by Geoffrey A. Landis

And here, from Gizem Karaali, is a poetic view of the process of mathematical discovery: the blank white page, the muddy flow of thoughts, the clarity that eventually (sometimes) blooms:

## Friday, August 15, 2014

### My best dream is floating . . .

Today I want to urge you to visit several sites in addition to my blog. For example, there is the recent announcement of 2014 Fields Medal (equivalent to a Nobel prize) winners -- the four winners include the first female mathematician (Maryam Mirzakhani) ever to be selected as a Fields Medalist (equivalent to a Nobel Prize) and a mathematician who loves poetry (Manjul Bhargava).

With the help of a "Google Alert" I found a YouTube video of Alexandria Marie reading "The Mathematics of Heartbreak" at a Dallas Poetry Slam. A link in an email from Texas computer scientist, Dylan Shell, alerted me to these mathematical lyrics (new words for old tunes) in a

As we have been floating from topic to topic, it may be apt to end with the final stanza of my relevantly titled poem:

With the help of a "Google Alert" I found a YouTube video of Alexandria Marie reading "The Mathematics of Heartbreak" at a Dallas Poetry Slam. A link in an email from Texas computer scientist, Dylan Shell, alerted me to these mathematical lyrics (new words for old tunes) in a

*mathbabe*posting by Cathy O'Neill.As we have been floating from topic to topic, it may be apt to end with the final stanza of my relevantly titled poem:

## Monday, August 11, 2014

### Narrated by a mathematician

Recently translated by Adam Morris, the novel

The cross on my brow

The facts of what I was

Of what I will be:

I was born a mathematician, a magician

I was born a poet.

*With My Dog-Eyes*(Melville House, 2014) by Brazilian writer Hilda Hilst (1930-2004) is narrated by a mathematician-poet. That fact of narration is what first drew me to the book. (See also this July 3 posting.) And then there is (related in Morris's introduction to the translation) Hilst's sad life, perhaps mirrored in her characters. These are the opening lines from the novel's narrator:The cross on my brow

The facts of what I was

Of what I will be:

I was born a mathematician, a magician

I was born a poet.

Labels:
Adam Morris,
edges,
faces,
Hlda Hilst,
magician,
mathematician,
poet,
polyhedron,
vertices

## Friday, August 8, 2014

### Squaring the Circle

Reminding us of the ancient unsolvable problem that so many attempted, the July/August 2014 issue of

from

It's a little-known fact that God's headgear --

A magician's collapsible silk top hat,

When viewed from Earth, from the bottom up

Is,

A pluperfect halo, both circle and square,

. . .

*Poetry*Magazine contains "Squaring the Circle," a poem by Philip Fried. Here are the opening lines; please follow the*Poetry*Magazine link above to enjoy the full poem.from

**Squaring the Circle**by Philip FriedIt's a little-known fact that God's headgear --

A magician's collapsible silk top hat,

When viewed from Earth, from the bottom up

Is,

*sub specie aeternitatis*,A pluperfect halo, both circle and square,

. . .

Two previous posts that also consider the circle-squaring problem include 10 May 2010 and 21 April 2010.

Labels:
circle,
mathematics,
Philip Fried,
poem,
POETRY Magazine,
problem,
square,
squaring the circle,
unsolvable

## Wednesday, August 6, 2014

### Divided selves, some of them savvy

For social connections, it is desirable not to be pegged as a member of an outcast group. And thus a mathematician is likely to have at least two selves -- one who lives in the world of mathematics and another separate social self that negotiates that rest-of-the-world where many fear and shun mathematics. I found a situation somewhat similar when I studied at Hunter College in Manhattan: I needed a separate self who negotiated the city. The problem-solving farm girl who knew small towns well and big cities slightly seemed better equipped to adapt to city conversations than her fellow students could chat about anything west of the Hudson.

In this vein, I present a poem that focuses on the country vs city divide -- and it involves a square look and a number.

*How many hundred miles must you drive to get to Pennsylvania?*they wondered. (The Delaware River boundary of PA is about 75 miles west of the George Washington Bridge.)In this vein, I present a poem that focuses on the country vs city divide -- and it involves a square look and a number.

**Green Market, New York**by Julia Spicher Kasdorf
Labels:
divided,
Hunter College,
Julia Spicher Kasdorf,
mathematics,
New York,
Pennsylvania,
poem,
poetry,
problem,
square

## Sunday, August 3, 2014

### A math prof's lament

The mathematical connection for this poem is the fact that it was inspired by regrets for a missed opportunity in a mathematics class -- an opportunity missed by me and thus by one of my students. There are so many ways to be wrong!

I took an extra step to bridge the gap

between us, blind to your matching backward step.

We've moved in tandem until I'm angry

at you, and at me — I thought you needed

lenience, but reprimands instead

would have changed the direction of our cadence

and given you a chance to lead the dance.

A poem about another of my students, "The Prince of Algebra" is available here. And this link will take you to the poems in my collection,

**Lament of a Professor****at the End of the Spring Semester**by JoAnne GrowneyI took an extra step to bridge the gap

between us, blind to your matching backward step.

We've moved in tandem until I'm angry

at you, and at me — I thought you needed

lenience, but reprimands instead

would have changed the direction of our cadence

and given you a chance to lead the dance.

A poem about another of my students, "The Prince of Algebra" is available here. And this link will take you to the poems in my collection,

*My Dance is Mathematics*(Paper Kite Press, 2006).### January - July, 2014 -- titles, dates of posts

Scroll
down to find titles and dates of posts in 2014. At the bottom is a links to lists of posts through 2013 and 2012 and 2011 -- and all the way back to March 2010 when this
blog was begun.

July 29 Fixing something wrong

July 27 Each equation is a playful catch . . .

July 25 Poems with "equation" in the title

July 19 Mathematicians are not free to say . . .

**This link leads to a PDF file that lists searchable topics and names of poets and mathematicians presented herein.**July 29 Fixing something wrong

July 27 Each equation is a playful catch . . .

July 25 Poems with "equation" in the title

July 19 Mathematicians are not free to say . . .

## Tuesday, July 29, 2014

### Fixing something wrong

If there's something

wrong with the third

act, it's really

in the first act.

This quote from Billy Wilder, Austrian-born writer and film-director (1906-2002), reminds me of a similar observation I have made about my mathematical work -- when a reviewer notes a problem near the end, usually the fix is near the beginning. And so it goes . . .

Labels:
Billy Wilder,
first,
mathematics,
strategy,
third,
wrong

## Sunday, July 27, 2014

### Each equation is a playful catch . . .

A mathematician is probably too close to her subject matter to speak playfully about it -- and thus she, even more than others, appreciates a phrase like "each equation is a playful catch, like bees into a jar," offered by Lisa Rosenberg in the poem below. In "Introduction to Methods of Mathematical Physics," Rosenberg uses a child's anxiety about insects as a way to describe fear of mathematics and offers a smidgen of respect for "those few" who are fearless.

**Introduction to Methods of Mathematical Physics**by Lisa Rosenberg

You must develop a feeling for these symbols

that crawl across a page, for the text overrun

with scorpions. Like those books about insects

you read as a child, scared to touch the magnified photos,

Labels:
equation,
Lisa Rosenberg,
mathematical physics,
mathematics,
playful,
poem,
poetry,
symbol

## Friday, July 25, 2014

### Poems with "equation" in the title

One of the ways to explore this blog is to go to the right hand column and find the instruction,

A few moments ago I did this and entered the word "equation" and found a long list of links, many of the latter ones redundant since they are picking up archive listings of earlier postings. But the early ones can be fun to explore. Here are five of the first six items that the SEARCH BOX produced. And the first two of these links yield poems with "equation" in the title. Enjoy!

**Click here to open a SEARCH BOX for this site.**A few moments ago I did this and entered the word "equation" and found a long list of links, many of the latter ones redundant since they are picking up archive listings of earlier postings. But the early ones can be fun to explore. Here are five of the first six items that the SEARCH BOX produced. And the first two of these links yield poems with "equation" in the title. Enjoy!

Labels:
blog,
equation,
mathematics,
poetry,
search

## Saturday, July 19, 2014

### Mathematicians are not free to say . . .

The poetry of a mathematician is constrained by the definitions she knows from mathematics. Even though all but one of the prime integers is odd, she cannot use the words "prime" and "odd" as if they are interchangeable. She cannot use the words "rectangle" and "box" as synonyms. But the ways that non-math poets dare to engage with math words can be delightful to mathematical ears and eyes. For example:

**The Wasp on the Golden Section**by Katy Didden

Labels:
golden section,
Katy Didden,
mathematics,
odd,
poetry,
prime,
Stephanie Strickland

## Wednesday, July 16, 2014

### Palindromes

Palindromic numbers are not uncommon -- recently (in the July 12 posting) power-of-eleven palindromes are mentioned. Palindromic poems are more difficult to find but see, for example, the postings for October 6, 2010 and October 11, 2010.

At a recent Kensington Row Bookshop poetry reading, Hailey Leithauser revealed that all but one of the poems in her recent collection

*Swoop*(Graywolf Press, 2014) contain a palindrome.And here are a couple of my favorite palindromic phrases:

(the impossible integer)

Never

odd or

even.

odd or

even.

(the mathematician's answer when she is offered cake)

"I prefer pi."

"I prefer pi."

## Saturday, July 12, 2014

### Prove It

After observing that

1 = 1

and 1 + 3 = 4

and 1 + 3 + 5 = 9

and 1 + 3 + 5 + 7 = 16

and 1 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 9 = 25

it seems easy to conclude that, for any positive integer n, the sum of the first n odd integers is n

1 = 1

and 1 + 3 = 4

and 1 + 3 + 5 = 9

and 1 + 3 + 5 + 7 = 16

and 1 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 9 = 25

it seems easy to conclude that, for any positive integer n, the sum of the first n odd integers is n

^{2}.
Labels:
infinite,
integer,
odd,
palindrome,
poem,
power,
proof,
prove,
sum,
William Kloefkorn

## Wednesday, July 9, 2014

### Looking back . . .

I have been visiting my hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania and not finding time to complete a new post -- and so I have looked back. On July 9, 2010 I offered a sonnet by Australian poet Jordie Albiston that begins with these lines:

might do you watch your world turn to

nought put your foot upon the path re

. . .

I invite you to go to the original post and read the rest.

**math (after)****first you get the number-rush as anyone**might do you watch your world turn to

nought put your foot upon the path re

*what cannot be said*I’ve heard before. . .

I invite you to go to the original post and read the rest.

## Sunday, July 6, 2014

### Poetry as Pure Mathematics

A recent email from Portuguese mathematician-poet F J "Francisco" Craveiro
de Carvalho brought a 40-year-old stanza to my attention. First published in the May, 1974 issue of

Whatever you add you add at your peril.

It is far better to subtract. In poetry,

Multiplication borders on madness.

Division is the mistress we agree to sleep with.

*POETRY**Magazine*, we have these enigmatic lines by William Virgil Davis. Enjoy!**The Science of Numbers: Or Poetry as Pure Mathematics**Whatever you add you add at your peril.

It is far better to subtract. In poetry,

Multiplication borders on madness.

Division is the mistress we agree to sleep with.

## Thursday, July 3, 2014

### Mathematician and Poet

Should I do it? Should I do a blog post on a novel by Brazilian poet Hilda Hilst (1930-2004) that I have begun to read but don't yet know how to understand?

Hilst's novel,

from

The cross on my brow

The facts of what I was

Of what I will be:

I was born a mathematician, a magician

I was born a poet.

Hilst's novel,

*With My Dog-Eyes*, newly translated by Adam Morris (Melville House, 2014), attracted my attention because its narrator is a mathematician and a poet. Here are the lines with which the novel begins:from

**With My Dog-Eyes**by Hilda HilstThe cross on my brow

The facts of what I was

Of what I will be:

I was born a mathematician, a magician

I was born a poet.

Labels:
Adam Morris,
Bertrand Russell,
Hilda Hilst,
magician,
mathematician,
poet

## Monday, June 30, 2014

### A recent butterfly effect

The term

Sea butterflies --

no larger than

a grain of sand,

named for the way

*butterfly effect*has entered everyday vocabulary from the mathematics of chaos theory and refers to the possibility of a major event (such as a tornado) starting from something so slight as the flutter of a butterfly wing. This sensitivity to small changes is a characteristic of chaotic systems. Recent news in*Science*magazine (9 May 2014) has drawn my attention to sea butterflies -- and the effect that ocean acidification is having on the lives of these tiny, fragile creatures -- and the environmental warning that this portends. From the details offered in*Science*, I have constructed this poem of 4x4 square-stanzas:**Warned by Sea Butterflies**by JoAnne GrowneySea butterflies --

no larger than

a grain of sand,

named for the way

Labels:
butterfly effect,
chaos,
JoAnne Growney,
mathematics,
poem,
sea butterfly,
square stanza

## Friday, June 27, 2014

### Of all geometries, feathery is best . . .

The title for this post comes from

Do not accept packages from unknown persons.

Beware non-native strangers who may be concealing

hazardous contraband "down there."

Question algebra. Dismantle thoughts traveling

the brain's baggage carousel in parabolas.

*Twinzilla*(The Word Works, 2014), by Charleston poet Barbara Hagerty. The title character of this collection is one of several poetic personalities that inhabit Hagerty's verse, and she offers a playful view of life's dualities -- sometimes versed in mathematical terminology. Here's a sample.**Twinzilla Cautions ***by Barbara G. S. HagertyDo not accept packages from unknown persons.

Beware non-native strangers who may be concealing

hazardous contraband "down there."

Question algebra. Dismantle thoughts traveling

the brain's baggage carousel in parabolas.

## Tuesday, June 24, 2014

### Is mathematics discovered or invented?

My neighbor, Glenn, is fond of asking math-folks that he meets the question "Is mathematics discovered or invented?" -- and when he asked the question of MAA lecturer William Dunham the response was one word, delivered with a smile, "Yes." The question of invention versus discovery -- which may apply to poetry or to mathematics -- is thoughtfully considered in "Notes toward a Supreme Fiction" by Wallace Stevens (1879-1955); here are a few lines from that poem.

from

He imposes orders as he thinks of them,

As the fox and the snake do. It is a brave affair.

Next he builds capitols and in their corridors,

from

**It Must Give Pleasure,****VII**by Wallace StevensHe imposes orders as he thinks of them,

As the fox and the snake do. It is a brave affair.

Next he builds capitols and in their corridors,

Labels:
discover,
invent,
mathematics,
order,
poetry,
Wallace Stevens,
William Dunham

## Friday, June 20, 2014

### Three thousand, and two

Here is a small poem richly vivid with the contrasts of opposites:

beside a stone three

thousand years old: two

red poppies of today

by Christine M. Krishnasami, India, found in

beside a stone three

thousand years old: two

red poppies of today

by Christine M. Krishnasami, India, found in

*This Same Sky: A Collection of Poems from around the World*(selected by Naomi Shihab Nye, Aladdin Paperbacks, 1996).## Tuesday, June 17, 2014

### Found: Elementary Calculus

Here is a poem by Saskatchewan poet Karen Solie.

From

Glasgow: Gibson, 1960.

Speed (like distance)

is a magnitude and has no

direction; velocity (like displacement)

has magnitude and direction.

**Found**by Karen Solie*Elementary Calculus*From

*Elementary Calculus*A. Keith and W. J. Donaldson.Glasgow: Gibson, 1960.

Speed (like distance)

is a magnitude and has no

direction; velocity (like displacement)

has magnitude and direction.

Labels:
calculus,
direction,
Karen Solie,
magnitude,
mathematics,
poem,
second,
speed,
zero

## Saturday, June 14, 2014

### Number theory is like poetry

Austrian-born Olga Taussky-Todd (1906-1995) was a noted and prolific mathematician who left her homeland for London in 1935 and moved on to California in 1945. Her best-known work was in the field of matrix theory (in England during World War II she started to use matrices to analyze vibrations of airplanes) and she also made important contributions to number theory. In the math-poetry anthology,

*Against Infinity*, I found a poem by this outstanding mathematician.
Labels:
Against Infinity,
mathematics,
mathmatician,
matrix,
number theory,
Olga Taussky-Todd,
poetry,
woman

## Wednesday, June 11, 2014

### And Now I See . . .

One of the ways we overcome our nervous shyness about our disabilities is by talking about them, and writing about them. And by encountering the poetry of Kathi Wolfe. I enjoy her work out-loud -- she is a frequent performer of her poems at local DC-area venues -- and on the page.

Kathi's "Blind Ambition" (in which she speaks of the monsters in arithmetic) is offered below; I first discovered this poem when it was posted by Split this Rock as poem of the week.

Kathi's "Blind Ambition" (in which she speaks of the monsters in arithmetic) is offered below; I first discovered this poem when it was posted by Split this Rock as poem of the week.

Labels:
addition,
arithmetic,
blind,
Kathi Wolfe,
multiplication,
poetry,
Split This Rock

## Sunday, June 8, 2014

### Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Literary works by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898, aka Lewis Carroll) are crammed with mentions of mathematics. One of my favorites (found here with numerous others, including "Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, Derision") is this exchange from Carroll's

"Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."

"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

*Alice in Wonderland*."Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."

"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

*Alice in Wonderland*
Labels:
Charles Lutwidge Dodson,
impossible,
Lewis Carroll,
paradox

## Wednesday, June 4, 2014

### Behind the cards -- mathematics

A couple of weeks ago at an MAA math lecture by Alissa Crans on the Catalan numbers, I sat near card-trick mathematician Colm Mulcahy. And I asked him if he knew any poems about card tricks and their mathematics.

Though he at first said "no," Mulcahy turned out to have a couple of connections up his sleeve. From Matthew Wright he learned of "The Card Players" -- a colorful sonnet from Philip Larkin's 1974 collection

And Bruce Reznick reminded him of the lyrics for "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers. The complete lyrics may be found here; I include below a stanza that offers some instruction about counting.

Though he at first said "no," Mulcahy turned out to have a couple of connections up his sleeve. From Matthew Wright he learned of "The Card Players" -- a colorful sonnet from Philip Larkin's 1974 collection

*High Windows*and available here with selections of Adriaen Brouwer's art.And Bruce Reznick reminded him of the lyrics for "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers. The complete lyrics may be found here; I include below a stanza that offers some instruction about counting.

Labels:
Alissa Crans,
bet,
Bruce Reznick,
card,
Catalan numbers,
Colm Mulcahy,
count,
Fiorello,
Kenny Rogers,
Matthew Wright,
Philip Larkin,
poem,
poker,
politics,
Sheldon Harnick,
trick

## Friday, May 30, 2014

### Squirrel Arithmetic

My maternal grandfather, James Edgar Black (1871-1931) was a western Pennsylvanian, a carpenter, and a man I never knew. But Ed, one of my cousins, found among our grandfather's long-stored things a scrapbook of collected poems and other miscellany that he recently passed on to me.

## Thursday, May 29, 2014

### Phenomenal Woman

Yesterday morning Maya Angelou (1928-1914) left us. But she has not left us alone. Her voice is with us, cheering us to be more than we were, to be all that we can become. Places to read her words and words about her include PoetryFoundation.org (scroll down past the bio for links to poems), Poets.org,

Angelou's poetry is filled with the geometry and motion of womanhood. For example:

*The Washington Post,*and Angelou's website.Angelou's poetry is filled with the geometry and motion of womanhood. For example:

Labels:
geometry,
Maya Angelou,
motion,
phenomenal,
woman

## Sunday, May 25, 2014

### How many grains of sand?

Recently one of my friends used "all the grains of sand" as an example of an infinite set "because it is impossible to count them all" and -- even as I rejected his answer -- I wondered how many of my other friends might agree with it. In the following poem, mathematician Pedro Poitevin considers a similar question as he reflects on the countability of the birds in the night sky.

A synchrony of wings across the sky

is quavering its feathered beats of flight.

Their number is too high to count -- I try

**Divertimentum Ornithologicum**by Pedro Poitevin*After Jorge Luis Borges's Argumentum Ornithologicum.*A synchrony of wings across the sky

is quavering its feathered beats of flight.

Their number is too high to count -- I try

Labels:
count,
hyperfinite,
inductive,
infinite,
Jorge Luis Borges,
less,
more,
natural number,
Pedro Poitevin

## Friday, May 23, 2014

### Math rap

Harry Baker is a Slam Champion who studies Maths at Bristol University, UK -- and his poetry sometimes features math, often having fun with the topic. His web page has a link to a rap about maths and at the JMM reading in Boston in 2012, Baker submitted this rap, 59 (a love story, now on YouTube), for presentation that evening.

## Tuesday, May 20, 2014

### Public Image of a Mathematician

From John Dawson -- a professor emeritus of mathematics at the Penn State York campus and well-known for his publications in mathematical logic, often focusing on the life and work of Kurt Godel -- a poem on a topic that this blog visits from time to time, portraits of mathematicians.

Please,

I'm not an accountant.

No,

Mine doesn't always balance either.

What do I

Well,

On good days

I prove theorems;

**Public Image**by John W. Dawson, Jr.Please,

I'm not an accountant.

No,

Mine doesn't always balance either.

What do I

*do*then?Well,

On good days

I prove theorems;

Labels:
accountant,
John Dawson,
Kurt Godel,
logic,
mathematician,
mathematics,
poem

## Friday, May 16, 2014

### Pound on poetry and mathematics

HERE at PoetryFoundation.org we find an article by Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), published in

The complete article is available here.

And, in a footnote* to the poem "In a Station of the Metro" -- found in my

*POETRY**Magazine*in 1916, in which Sandburg offers highest praise to poet Ezra Pound (1885-1972). Sandburg includes this quote from a 1910 essay by Pound that connects poetry and mathematics.
"Poetry is a sort of inspired mathematics, which gives us equations,

not for abstract figures, triangles, spheres and the like, but equations

for the human emotions. If one have a mind which inclines to magic

rather than science, one will prefer to speak of these equations

as spells or incantations; it sounds more arcane, mysterious, recondite."

The complete article is available here.

And, in a footnote* to the poem "In a Station of the Metro" -- found in my

*Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry*we find a bit more of Pound's mathematical thinking.
Labels:
abstract,
Carl Sandburg,
equation,
Ezra Pound,
figure,
mathematics,
Metro,
poetry,
sphere,
triangle

## Tuesday, May 13, 2014

### Land without a square

Here is a bit of light verse from the pen of John Updike (1932-2009).

**ZULUS LIVE IN LAND**

**WITHOUT A SQUARE**by John Updike

*A Zulu lives in a round world. If he does not leave his reserve.*

*he can live his whole life through and never see a straight line.*

--headline and text from

*The New York Times*

In Zululand the huts are round,

The windows oval, and the rooves

Thatched parabolically. The ground

Is tilled in curvilinear grooves.

## Saturday, May 10, 2014

### Barbie (b 1959) said (c 1990) "math is hard"

On April 24 I had the pleasure of reading at the Nora School with Martin Dickinson and Michele Wolf. Back in March I had posted Dickinson's "Homage to Euclid" but mathematics is not a a focus of Wolf's work. However, her poem below about Barbie has numbers, and any mention of Barbie reminds me of the controversy over "

by Michele Wolf

My worth is most inflated when, on tiptoes, I pose

In my original box, never handled, especially if I date

Back to '59 or '60. But that is rare. I am more used

To breaking out, to being the damp flamingo

Pecking to leave the shell. I prefer moving forward.

I was an astronaut in '65, a surgeon in '73. Last year

**math is hard**" -- one of the speeches uttered by an early 90's version of this doll. (Please visit this posting from June 14, 2010 -- on "Girls and Mathematics" for additional Barbie-comments and more Barbie poetry.) Here, now, please enjoy Wolf's poem:**Barbie Slits Open Her Direct-Mail Offer to Join AARP**by Michele Wolf

My worth is most inflated when, on tiptoes, I pose

In my original box, never handled, especially if I date

Back to '59 or '60. But that is rare. I am more used

To breaking out, to being the damp flamingo

Pecking to leave the shell. I prefer moving forward.

I was an astronaut in '65, a surgeon in '73. Last year

Labels:
almost,
Barbie,
girls,
math,
mathematics,
metaphor,
Michele Wolf,
poetry

## Wednesday, May 7, 2014

### May 6, 1954

I learned about it via a news broadcast on Pittsburgh radio station KDKA and, for some reason, the event stuck firmly in my memory. I was 13 years old and on May 6, 1954 Roger Bannister ran a mile in less than 4 minutes. The integer 4 is a perfect square as was Bannister's age then -- 25. Alternatively, 13 is prime. As is 60 + 13 = 73. Yesterday marked 60 years since Bannister broke the record. I have come to love running. And playing with numbers.

I . . . never

will run out

of numbers.

I . . . never

will run out

of numbers.

Labels:
perfect square,
prime,
Roger Bannister,
running

## Sunday, May 4, 2014

### A pure mathematician (not!)

Poet Arthur Guiterman (1871-1943) was known for his humorous verse. Here is "A Pure Mathematician" -- a poem that stereotypes mathematicians in familiar, unflattering ways (from

Let Poets chant of Clouds and Things

In lonely attics!

A Nobler Lot is his, who clings

To Mathematics.

Sublime he sits, no Worldly Strife

His Bosom vexes,

Reducing all the Doubts of Life

To Y's and X's.

*The Laughing Muse*(Harper Brothers, 1915)). In contrast to Guiterman's verse that pokes fun at mathematicians, I invite you to visit this posting from 28 January 2011 to read Sherman Stein's "Mathematician" -- a poem that not only is more fair to the profession but also features a female mathematician.**A Pure Mathematician**by Arthur GuitermanLet Poets chant of Clouds and Things

In lonely attics!

A Nobler Lot is his, who clings

To Mathematics.

Sublime he sits, no Worldly Strife

His Bosom vexes,

Reducing all the Doubts of Life

To Y's and X's.

Labels:
Arthur Guiterman,
hypoetenuse,
logarithm,
mathematician,
mathematics,
portrait,
pure

## Wednesday, April 30, 2014

### Math, Magic, Mystery -- and so few women

Today, April 30, is the final day of Mathematics Awareness Month 2014; this year's theme has been "Mathematics, Magic and Mystery" and it celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the most interesting men of mathematics; educated as a philosopher, Martin Gardner wrote often about mathematics and sometimes about poetry. Gardner described his relationship to poetry as that of "occasional versifier" -- he is the author, for example, of:

Ï€ goes on and on

And e is just as cursed

I wonder, how does Ï€ begin

When its digits are reversed?

Ï€ goes on and on

And e is just as cursed

I wonder, how does Ï€ begin

When its digits are reversed?

## Monday, April 28, 2014

### Words that warn

Somewhere in a high school English class was a small topic that intrigues me still -- "questions that expect the answer 'yes'." A door opened. Letting me see that what we say has expectations as well as information. In graduate school math classes we considered the warning word "obviously" -- in a proof, it was likely to mean "I'm sure it's true but am not able to explain."

As I muse today about language I am wondering how

As I muse today about language I am wondering how

*words affect the population of women in mathematics, affect the numbers (too small) of women publishing mathematics. Thinking about this in the light of a wonderful time on Saturday greeting visitors to an AWM (Association for Woman in Mathematics) booth at the biennial USA Science and Engineering Festival. Temple University professor and AWM member Irina Mitrea did an amazing job planning and coordinating the AWM booth where hundreds of young people got some hands-on experience with secret codes and ciphers.***unsaid**
Labels:
AWM,
cipher,
code,
elliptical,
Harryette Mullen,
Irina Mitrea,
mathematics,
poem,
Poetry Foundation

## Friday, April 25, 2014

### Too many selves

In my childhood home, numbers were used with care and precision. There would be teasing when I would use the adverb "too" --- as if when I said "I had to walk

Alone among the superheroes,

He failed to keep his life in balance.

Power Man, The Human Shark--they knew

To hold their days and nights in counterpoise,

Their twin selves divided together,

As a coin bears with ease its two faces.

*too*far" I had tried to describe an unbounded distance, greater than any possible span. Now as an adult I continue to be cautious (and intrigued) with use of that word. And I am drawn to the uses of "too many" and "count" in the following poem from David Orr, poetry columnist for the*New York Times Book Review*.**The Chameleon**by David OrrAlone among the superheroes,

He failed to keep his life in balance.

Power Man, The Human Shark--they knew

To hold their days and nights in counterpoise,

Their twin selves divided together,

As a coin bears with ease its two faces.

## Monday, April 21, 2014

### A Cento from Arcadia

Last week I had the enjoyable privilege of visiting with mathematician-poet Marion Cohen's math-lit class, "Truth and Beauty" at Arcadia University -- and the class members helped me to compose a Cento (given below), a poem to which each of us contributed a line or two of poetry-with-mathematics. Participants, in addition to Dr. Cohen and me, included these students:

Theresa, Deanna, Ian, Collin, Mary, Grace, Zahra, Jen, Jenna,

Nataliya, Adeline, Quincy, Van, Alyssa, Samantha, Alexis, Austin.

Big thanks to all!

Theresa, Deanna, Ian, Collin, Mary, Grace, Zahra, Jen, Jenna,

Nataliya, Adeline, Quincy, Van, Alyssa, Samantha, Alexis, Austin.

Big thanks to all!

## Sunday, April 20, 2014

### Remembering Nina Cassian

Exiled Romanian poet Nina Cassian (1924-2014) died last week in Manhattan. Cassian was an outspoken poet whom I admired for her political views; she also was connected to mathematics -- in her subject matter and her friends. (See, for example, this posting from January 31, 2011.)

If I dress up like a peacock,

you dress like a kangaroo.

If I make myself into a triangle,

you acquire the shape of an egg.

If I were to climb on water,

you'd climb on mirrors.

All our gestures

Belong to the solar system.

"Equality" is in

**Equality**by Nina CassianIf I dress up like a peacock,

you dress like a kangaroo.

If I make myself into a triangle,

you acquire the shape of an egg.

If I were to climb on water,

you'd climb on mirrors.

All our gestures

Belong to the solar system.

"Equality" is in

*Cheerleaders for a Funeral*(Forrest Books, 1992), translated by the author and Brenda Walker.
Labels:
Brenda Walker,
equality,
mathematics,
Nina Cassian,
poetry,
Romania,
triangle

## Friday, April 18, 2014

### Poetry of Romania - Nora School, Apr 24

During several summers teaching conversational English to middle-school students in Deva, Romania, I became acquainted with the work of Romanian poets. These included: Mikhail Eminescu (1850-1889, a Romantic poet, much loved and esteemed, honored with a portrait on Romanian currency), George Bakovia (1881-1957, a Symbolist poet, and a favorite poet of Doru Radu, an English teacher in Deva with whom I worked on some translations of Bacovia into English), Nichita Stanescu (1933-1983, an important post-war poet, a Nobel Prize nominee -- and a poet who often used mathematical concepts and images in his verse).

On April 24, 2014 at the Nora School here in Silver Spring I will be reading (sharing the stage with Martin Dickinson and Michele Wolf) some poems of Romania -- reading both my own writing of my Romania experiences and some translations of work by Romanian poets. Here is a sample (translated by Gabriel Praitura and me) of a poem by Nichita Stanescu:

On April 24, 2014 at the Nora School here in Silver Spring I will be reading (sharing the stage with Martin Dickinson and Michele Wolf) some poems of Romania -- reading both my own writing of my Romania experiences and some translations of work by Romanian poets. Here is a sample (translated by Gabriel Praitura and me) of a poem by Nichita Stanescu:

## Tuesday, April 15, 2014

### Dimensions of a soul

In the poem below, Young Smith uses carefully precise terms of Euclidean geometry to create a vivid interior portrait.

The shape of her soul is a square.

She knows this to be the case

because she often feels its corners

pressing sharp against the bone

just under her shoulder blades

and across the wings of her hips.

**She Considers the Dimensions of Her Soul**by Young SmithThe shape of her soul is a square.

She knows this to be the case

because she often feels its corners

pressing sharp against the bone

just under her shoulder blades

and across the wings of her hips.

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