Thursday, April 26, 2018

A Poem for My Pocket

 5 
April 26 is "Poem in Your Pocket Day" for 2018
This poem is in my pocket!

The Great Figure      by William Carlos Williams  (1883-1963)

Among the rain
and lights
I saw the figure 5
in gold
on a red
firetruck
moving
tense
unheeded
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.

This link leads to several of my previous "Poem in Your Pocket" choices.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Move beyond dislike to the genuine . . .

April celebrates National Poetry Month and
     One of the sad similarities between mathematics and poetry is that both are subjects many people dislike -- with reasons such as "I'm lousy at  ___" or "I don't get it" or "It's stupid -- who needs it?"  Lots of us are trying to change that.

     The title for this posting is the opening line of "Poetry"  by Marianne Moore (1887-1972) -- and the poem goes on like this:

I, too, dislike it.
     Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in 
     it, after all, a place for the genuine.

In my copy of The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore (Penguin Books, 1981), there is a short version of this poem, "Poetry," that contains only the lines above and, here at Poets.org. we find a longer version that goes on for twenty-three more lines.

 Allow yourself to look for the special, to find it.  
 Celebrate the genuine       in poetry       and       in mathematics.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Poetry sometimes OPPOSES mathematics!

     One of the finest historians of mathematics is Judith V. Grabiner, professor emerita of Pitzer College;  here is a link to one of her thoughtful and widely informative articles, "The Centrality of Mathematics in the History of Western Thought," (originally published in Mathematics Magazine, 1988).
     Toward the end of this article is a section with the header "Opposition."  It opens with this statement:
          The best proof of the centrality of mathematics is that 
               every example of its influence given so far 
               has provoked strong and significant opposition.
Grabiner includes the voices of poets among the resisters.  She mentions Walt Whitman becoming "tired and sick" and leaving to look at the stars in "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" and quotes stanza from William Wordsworth's "The Tables Turned."   Wordsworth's condemnation of learning as an opponent to nature ends with these stanzas:  

Monday, April 16, 2018

Mathy three-liners -- thoughts for today

When two negatives meet,
is the pair more
or less negative?

          For almost any question,
          almost every number
          is the wrong answer.

                    The irrational numbers
                    are more numerous than
                    the rational ones.

          Steal the same amount
          from both sides of the equation
          if you wish not to be found out.

Which is better --
a large number
or a rational one?

Nothing is.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Interview with mathy poets . . .

     Philadelphia mathematician and poet Marion Cohen has worked with Sundress Publications to prepare an interview offering MATH-POETRY viewpoints from three other mathematician-poets and herself -- including me and Sarah Glaz, recently retired in the mathematics department at the University of Connecticut, and Gizem Karaali, in the mathematics department at Pomona College.  All of these math-women have numerous books, articles, and so on -- and I invite you to follow the links associated with their names and also to go here to read the Sundress interview (which does, at the end, include several poems).

     Each of these math-poetry women has been featured often in this blog -- and, in addition to reading the interview, I urge you to click on their names to explore these links:       Marion Cohen        Sarah Glaz        Gizem Karaali

I close with a link to an article of mine, "Mathematics in Poetry, " published by the MAA a bit more than ten years ago -- an easy read that has generated some recent attention.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Celebrate Martin Gardner

     Martin Gardner (1914-2010) was a friend to mathematics and made many aspects of the subject available to a wide audience for twenty-five years in a Scientific American column , "Mathematical Games" -- material later collected in a variety of books.  I have featured Gardner's connections to math-poetry in several previous blog postings -- and today I want to mention an event  happening this weekend (April 11-15, in Decatur, Georgia), the 13th Annual Gathering for Gardner.   Lots of math-fun is on the agenda -- and a bit of poetry.  
     On Sunday, April 15, Professor Manjul Bhargava of Princeton University will lecture on “Poetry, Drumming, and Mathematics.” Bhargava won the Fields Medal, which is one of the highest honors for a mathematician.  More information about the annual gatherings for Gardner is available here.  
     In closing,  noting the coming of spring with its April celebration of both mathematics and poetry, here are a few lines of verse -- the opening stanza from an old poem of mine entitled "Time."

          The clock goes round --
          making time a circle
          rather than a line.
          Each year's return to spring
          layers time on time.
A second part of "Time" is available here.
Both are collected in Red Has No Reason (Plain View Press, 2010).

Monday, April 9, 2018

March for Our Lives -- Numbers and complexities!

     One of the very moving recent events in my life was the "March for Our Lives" in Washington a couple of weeks ago.  Passionate AND thoughtful speeches by young people that will, I hope, lead to moral and legislative action.  One of the stars whose performance complemented those of the young speakers is Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the current and popular musical "Hamilton"; seeing Miranda at the March reminded me of a poem of protest sent to me by Australian poet Erica Jolly a few months ago.    Jolly's poem draws from an essay by Matthew Peppe in the Special Issue of Lapham's Quarterly about Alexander Hamilton and contrasts the character of the theatrical Hamilton with the behavior of the character who inspired him.  (This link to the blog "John's Space" offers additional background information.)  Thank you, Erica, for this moving use of numbers!

Daddy Yankee:     
       The Irony of ‘Hamilton’
       Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 
       Advocacy for Puerto Rico
by Erica Jolly (December 2017)
             An essay by Matthew Peppe found in the Special Issue
             about Alexander Hamilton in Lapham’s Quarterly.

I draw in my breath in disbelief.
How does one take in all those numbers?
How is it possible for an island of this size
to have a debt of seventy six billion dollars?  

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Bits of Geometry -- from a "Phenomenal Woman"

     Today's Google Doodle beautifully reminds us that this day is the 90th anniversary of the birth of Dr Maya Angelou (1928-2014) -- and in the Doodle Angelou is celebrated with a recording of her poem, "Still I Rise."  A recording of "Still I Rise" also is available from a push-button within a recently erected bronze statue of Angelou, "Maya's Mind" by Mischell Riley -- on 17th Street in Washington, DC, through December 2018 and part of an exhibit sponsored by the Renwick Gallery.

"Maya's Mind" by Mischell Riley

The text of "Still I Rise" is available here at PoetryFoundation.org.  As I noted in an earlier post, "Phenomenal Woman,"  Angelou's poetry is full of the generous geometry of womanhood -- here are a few lines from that poem:

        It's in the reach of my arms,
        The span of my hips,
        The stride of my step,
        The curl of my lips.
        I'm a woman
        Phenomenally.

From Angelou's Phenomenal Woman:  Four Poems Celebrating Women (Random House, 1994).

Monday, April 2, 2018

Split This Rock Poetry Festival, April 19-21, 2018

For poems and poets that speak out FOR rights, AGAINST injustice, 
attend the biennial SPLIT THIS ROCK Poetry Festival!
Festival information is available here.  
Split This Rock maintains a hugs poetry database, available here.

One of this year's Festival's featured poets is Sharon Olds who was, a few years ago, my poetry teacher.  This link leads to an introduction to Olds and to a stanza from one of her poems that celebrates math-girls.   
. . .
indivisible as
a prime number
. . .

Friday, March 30, 2018

Celebrate life -- BILLIONS of heartbeats

     I've been thinking a lot about last weekend's March for Our Lives and now it is the Easter weekend -- and these events have led me also to think about  the heart and to reflect on this poem by Pennsylvania poet Gary Fincke entitled "The Billion Heartbeats of the Mammal."

The Billion Heartbeats of the Mammal     by Gary Fincke 

     Feel this," my father says, guiding my hand
     To the simple braille of his pacemaker.
     "Sixty," he tells me, "over and over
     Like a clock," and I mention the billion
     heartbeats of the mammal, how the lifespan
     Can be rough-guessed by the 800 beats
     Per minute of the shrew, the 200
     Of the house cat, speeding through their billion
     In three years, in twelve. How slowly we act,
     According to our pets. How we are stone   

Monday, March 26, 2018

Mathematical cycles of life

    After participating last Saturday in Washington, DC's "March for Our Lives" my head has been full of numbers related to gun violence.  Stepping away from those to other numbers, I have re-found and enjoyed this poem by Spanish poet Elena Soto

     The cicadas of mathematical cycles     by Elena Soto

     Sheltered by the prime numbers,
     the nymphs of the periodic cicadas
     descend to the underworld.
     Their cycles -- 
     only divisible by one and by themselves --
     avoid death.
     Magicicada septendecim and Magicicada tredecim
     enter the veil of the earth looking for tender plants.
     They gather for oblivion and life
     and thus conclude the circle of chaos.
     And the legend says that they never return
     because their blood becomes chlorophyll
     and they are forever subjected to
     the ancient cycle of plant constellations.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Happy Birthday -- Emmy Noether!

Born March 23, 1882. Amalie Emmy Noether (1882-1935) was an outstanding mathematician.  Three years ago GOOGLE celebrated her birthday.  At this link is a poem I wrote about her.  And for more about her and other math-women, go to this article in the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Skinny poetry -- 11 lines, most with just 1 word . . .

     Last weekend at a DC poetry gathering I had the opportunity to hear poet Truth Thomas speak about the "Skinny" -- a poetry form that he created at Howard University in 2005.  More about Thomas and The Skinny Poetry Journal may be found here.

            A Skinny is a short poem form that consists of eleven lines. 
            The first and eleventh lines can be any length (although shorter lines are favored). 
            The eleventh and last line must be repeated using the same words 
                     from the first and opening line (however, they can be rearranged). 
            The second, sixth, and tenth lines must be identical. 
            All the lines in this form, except for the first and last lines, must contain ONLY ONE word. 

Since learning of the Skinny, I've wanted to write one.  Here's a try:

               Math women count
               many
               pioneers
               despite
               barriers  
               many
               heroic
               few
               praised 
               many
               math women count

The Skinny Poetry Journal invites submissions.  More information here.


Monday, March 19, 2018

Math and poetry -- shout out the connection!

    Recently I came across a fun-to-read posting here in the blog "math for grownups" about connections between math and poetry -- blogger Laura Laing is a freelance writer who was a math major  (here is her personal webpage) and she offers strongly positive remarks about poetry and math and women and    . .
    Following the theme of positive connections, I offer a sample of work by Theoni Pappas, taken from a recently-republished collection math talk:  mathematical ideas in poems for two voices (Wide World Publishing, 2014).  Here are the opening lines of the first poem of the collection -- it is fittingly entitled "Mathematics."  

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Math-minorities -- stories needing to be shouted

     One of my favorite Facebook communities is Women in Maths -- a group energized by Susanne Pumpluen at the University of Nottingham and a site that consistently offers must-read items concerning math-women.  One of the important blogs on my reading list is the American Mathematical Society Blog, inclusion/exclusion -- a diverse group of bloggers, headed by Adriana Salerno that discuss issues pertaining to marginalized and underrepresented groups in mathematics.  A February posting by Piper Harron focuses attention on the question "What does it feel like not to belong?" -- treating exclusion issues with important frankness.  As someone who felt uncomfortable without speaking out about it, I admire Harron's expression of her views.

     For a poetic comment on this situation I turn to the final stanza of a poem of mine about Emmy Noether, a verse that illustrates the oft-repeated habit of praise that actually is a put-down. 

               Today, history books proclaim that Noether
               is the greatest mathematician
               her sex has produced. They say she was good
               for a woman. 

Readers interested in reading a bit more are invited to visit my 2017 article in the online Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, "They Say She Was Good for a Woman:  Poetry and Musings."

Monday, March 12, 2018

Celebrate Pi-Day with a message in Pilish

      As you may already know, when we write in Pilish, our word-lengths follow the pattern of the digits of pi.  For example, here is a link to posting from a couple of years ago that offers a poem in Pilish by Mike Keith.  Here is a small Pilish verse of my own:


Twenty-six words of Pilish . . .
Many thanks for the comment below from Seth and his students who caught
 my incorrect use of  a 7-letter word for the 8th digit in an earlier version of this posting.

Here is a link to a host of earlier postings in this blog about Pi.

And, for Pi-Day or any day . . ..a book I found online recently that looks like a great STEAM resource for K-12 teachers is Strategies that Integrate the Arts in Mathematics (Shell Education, 2015) by Linda Dacey and Lisa Donovan.  This amazon.com listing enables viewers to look inside.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Philippa Fawcett -- Talented and Overlooked

 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY ! 
 Celebrate MATH-WOMEN by writing POEMS about them! 

     I want to shout out a THANK YOU to Larry Riddle of Agnes Scott College for his website, "Biographies of Women Mathematicians" -- around two-hundred women are portrayed there.  One of these is Philippa Fawcett (1868-1946) in an article that opens with these words:

       Became, in 1890, the first woman to score the highest mark 
          of all the candidates for the Mathematical Tripos at Cambridge University. 
               Women at that time were not eligible for a Cambridge BA degree, however. 

A Wikipedia article quotes one of her students at Newnham College, Cambridge:

     “What I remember most vividly of Miss Fawcett's coaching was
          her concentration, speed, and infectious delight in what she was teaching ... ."   

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Linking mathematics to the rest . . .



Today my obtuse anger is rightly directed toward G. H. Hardy (1877-1947) and to the followers who have accepted his view --  in his 1940 treatise, A Mathematician's Apology -- that explaining and appreciating mathematics is work for second-rate minds.  Despite his worthy achievements in number theory and analysis and his nurturing of Ramanujan, Hardy's words should not stand forth and belittle those who teach and explain and forge connections between mathematics and all the rest.
     An wonderful and ongoing source of integration of mathematics with the arts is the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics -- and I invite you to go to the current issue and browse there OR go to this link for more than thirty pages of mathematical Haiku.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Looking back -- titles and links for previous posts

Scroll down to find titles and links to posts going back to this blog's start in March, 2010.  
If you are searching for a particular topic or poet, 
 use the SEARCH box in the maroon column to the right.

March is Women's History Month --  go here for one of many postings that celebrate MATH WOMEN !

Feb 28  Mathematical images via Haiku
Feb 26  Poetry from Ursula Le Guin
Feb 22  Circles are inclusive . . . let's make circles!
Feb 19  Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of ... Mathematics
Feb 15  Sonnet for Bolyai -- and translations
Feb 13  Happy Valentine's Day -- I love SEVEN!
Feb  9  A Matrix Poem, "RESIST"
Feb  7  Find a Mathy Valentine!
Feb  5  Math-poetry for Black History Month   

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Mathematical images via Haiku

          Musing               
         So many versions       
of the truth -- mathematics
        always one of them   

     The recent issue of  the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics includes not only a variety of poems linked to mathematics -- it also has a special treat:  a folder of Haiku -- 31 pages with contributions by 31 different writers.  One of these contributors is Hannah Lewis and she has given me permission to share her work.  Here are Hannah's Haiku:

     But, Why?

          x equals y, but—
          why? dig deeper and all your
          answers will unearth.     

Monday, February 26, 2018

Poetry from Ursula Le Guin

     Well-known and beloved writer Ursula Le Guin (1929-2018) died last month -- at the age of 88.  Although best known for her fiction, Le Guin also was a poet -- and I include samples of her poetic work (and links) below.
     An adaptation for the stage of Le Guin's novel, The Lathe of Heaven, is currently in performance (until March 11) at the Spooky Action Theater as part of Washington, DC's Women's Voices Theater Festival.  I had the privilege of attending last Saturday's performance -- and liked it a lot.
     Le Guin's poetry is not substantially mathematical, but I include a couple of verses below that each contain a mathy term or two . . .

A palindrome I do not want to write

The mournful palindromedary,
symmetrical and arbitrary,
cannot desert the desert, cannot roam,
plods back and forth but never reaches home.
Mental boustrophedon is scary,
I do not want to write a palindrome.
-- UKL, February 2009

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Circles are inclusive . . . let's make circles!

Rectangular picture of a syllable-triangle poem about the power of a circle.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of ... Mathematics

     One of my favorite mathy authors is Lillian R. Lieber (1886-1986) and one of the websites that has recently featured her work is the energetic and eclectic brainpickings.org (authored by Maria Popova) -- in a posting recommended to me by my Bloomsburg, PA poetry-friend Carol Ann Heckman.  Carol alerted me to a January 2018 brainpickings posting about Lieber -- a writer whose poetic treatise, Infinity: Beyond the Beyond the Beyond (Paul Dry Books, 2007) is a reading I once recommended to her as an aid in understanding calculus.  Originally published in 1953 and illustrated with striking drawings by Lillian's collaborating husband, Hugh Lieber, Infinity also had enriched my own understanding of some challenging concepts.  The Heckman-recommended posting offers ideas from an out-of-print gem by Lieber entitled Human Values and Science, Art and Mathematics -- and here are a few opening lines from that collection that seem very relevant today:
   
     This book is really about
     Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,
     using ideas from mathematics
     to make these concepts less vague.  

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Sonnet for Bolyai -- and translations

     The Hungarian mathematician János Bolyai (1802 – 1860) was one of the discoverers of non-Euclidean geometry — an axiomatization  that differs from Euclid's geometry in its stipulations concerning parallel lines. This discovery of  an alternative view of space -- that also was logically consistent -- helped to free mathematicians to explore new ideas, and the consequences developed by Einstein and others have led to far-reaching results.
     Hungarian poet Mihály Babits (1883-1941) wrote a sonnet about Bolyai.  I learned of this sonnet and its English translation (by Paul Sohar and offered below) from Osmo Pekonen, a Finnish mathematician who is engaged in the project of collecting translations of Babits' sonnet into as many languages as possible.  (The original Hungarian version -- along with a Spanish translation -- is available here.) 

     Bolyai      by Mihály Babits              translation into English by Paul Sohar

     God had imprisoned our minds in space.
     Those puny things have remained prisoners.
     Thought, the hungry bird of prey fought the curse,
     but never breached its diamond bars' embrace.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day -- I love SEVEN!

Happy Valentine's Day!
                     I love seven –  as  a 
                                                          five-
                                                        letter
     word
    or
  as
            an                    
                                            acute     
                                        angle.

     Not only is seven prime, it is the number
     of my granddaughters who all like math --
     I want to make a mountain to celebrate 
     the girls and the women they become . . .  

Friday, February 9, 2018

A Matrix Poem, "RESIST"

     My first awareness of the term "matrix" was in a math class -- where it means a rectangular array of quantities that are treated as a single unified object.  But my online dictionary does not list that definition first; a Google Search using "matrix definition" led me to "an environment or material in which something develops; a surrounding medium or structure."  And so it goes.
     And when I enter the pair "matrix" and "poem" into a Google Search, the results include poems with the word "matrix" in the title AND rectangular arrays including this one from  Eleven Matrix Poems by Roy Lisker and found at this source. Reading instruction includes this: 
       Matrix poems are written to be read in all of the directions 
indicated by their accompanying diagrams.
"RESIST" by Roy Lisker
My favorite line is shown as the second column; which is yours? 
Fight    Ever    Will To    Never    Evade
     In closing, one more remark about the Google Search I performed using "matrix poem"; as with many Google searches there was a link to images, and from that I found a delightful array of word-diagrams such as the one above.  Try it sometime!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Find a Mathy Valentine!

As the 2018 version of Valentine's Day draws near, I urge you to visit past postings to sample the variety contained in my years of collecting -- if you are looking for Mathy Valentines:

 do a blog Search using Valentine

      Two of the poems in the anthology that Sarah Glaz and I edited -- Strange Attractors:  Poems of Love and Mathematics (AK Peters/CRC Press, 2008)  -- have the title "Valentine."  Here is the final line of the one by Katharine O'Brien:

         . . . won't you be my cardioid?

and the final pair of lines of Michael Stueben's verse:

       I love you as one over x,
       as x approaches zero.

Sending my wishes a week ahead of time, Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Math-poetry for Black History Month

     Recently I have revisited my post (from October 2, 2012) that offers a puzzle poem by math-science guy Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806), "The Puzzle of the Hound and the Hare" and available here.   
     This link leads to several more posts that also offer mathy poems linked to African-American history and culture.  And here, below, is a treasure to enjoy in any month:

     Addition     by Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

     7 x 7 + love =
     An amount
     Infinitely above:
     7 x 7 − love.

Hughes' poem "Addition" is found in the anthology Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics (AK Peters/CRC Press, 2008), edited by Sarah Glaz and me and first posted in this blog, along with other poems celebrating to Black History Month, on February 20, 2011.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Square poems -- pricked by a cactus!

     Back home now in Maryland after some time in Arizona (near Tucson) with cousins, my mind is full of the beauty and diversity of the cactuses that I saw there -- in yards and gardens and, most spectacularly, at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (BIG Thanks, Bob and Ann!)  My interest in these prickly plants led me to seek a poem that featured them.  What I found is a small "square poem" in my article "Mathematics in Poetry" -- published several years ago by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and available here.  Below, I quote that tiny square poem -- preceded by an explanatory introduction.

Mathematicians enjoy pushing against constraints to find what is possible despite their presence; I enjoy a similar struggle in poetry. For example, when I wanted to write about my decision to be polite even though somewhere inside I feel very uncivil, the constraints of a 3 × 3 square poem led me to:

Mock feelings
serve as well
as true ones.  

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

50 years after "The Population Bomb"

          In 1968 while I was in graduate school at the University of Oklahoma, we all were talking about Paul Erlich's new book, The Population Bomb, and its dire predictions.  My worry over population has evolved into worry about climate change -- a deep concern that selfish actions today are leaving an unhealthy world for future generations.  I want my grandchildren to have the opportunity for healthy lives!!!   On the morning of January 3,  the program 1A on  radio station WAMU did a thought-provoking feature, "More People, More Problems"  on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Erlich's book.  And, at a website entitled "Better (not bigger) Vermont"  I found several poems and songs about population, including the "Population Pressure Song" by Calvin Stewart & Joice Marie -- I offer several stanzas below:

from  Population Pressure Song   by Calvin Stewart & Joice Marie (©2008)
     . . .
        Pop pop, goes the population
        Got to stop, the population
        While we still have our woods
        In our quiet neighborhoods   

Monday, January 22, 2018

A poem that counts

     Recently I discovered (at Poets.org) this thought-provoking number-poem by Oklahoma poet Quraysh Ali Lansana.

bible belted: math     by Quraysh Ali Lansana 

          Pro-Black doesn’t mean anti-anything.
                   El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X)

there are at least twenty-seven
white people i love. i counted.

four from high school, five from
undergraduate years, maybe  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Counting syllables and supporting life

Today, as abortion-protesters march in Washington, I look back to a post from March 25, 2013 and repeat it below.  I, too, cherish life -- and know that sometimes people face very difficult choices.
*   *   *   *   *
In a perfect world in which every pregnancy is wanted and every life supported with love, there would be no need for abortion.  As I work toward that world, I have penned this small syllable-square poem of concern about the vulnerability of young lives.

       36 Syllables       by JoAnne Growney

       More than abortion, fear
       unwanted lives -- saddest
       consequence for children
       conceived without a plan
       for parenting.  There is
       more than one way to die.  
  

Thursday, January 18, 2018

OULIPO, Mathews -- and permutations of proverbs

     Harry Mathews (1930-2017) was a writer -- novelist, poet, essayist, and translator --whose work interests me a great deal.  He was the only American member of the original Oulipo -- a group formed around 1960 of writers and mathematicians who experimented with a variety of constraints designed to force new arrangements of words and thoughts.  An example cited in a NYTimes feature that followed his death on January 25 illustrates the challenges he set for himself:  he rewrote a poem by Keats using the vocabulary of a Julia Child recipe.  What some might have seen as pointless, Mathews found intellectually liberating.
Mathews served as Paris Editor of the Paris Review from 1989 to 2003 and the Spring 2007 issue offers an interview.   The summer 1998 issue offers samples of his perverbs -- that is, permuted proverbs:
"The word perverb was invented 
by Paris review editor Maxine Groffsky
to describe the result obtained by crossing two proverbs.
For example, "All roads lead to Rome" and "A rolling stone gathers no moss"
give us "All roads gather moss" and "A rolling stone leads to Rome"

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Blog history -- title, links for previous posts . . .

      My first posting in this blog was nearly eight years ago (on March 23, 2010).  If, at the time, I had anticipated its duration, I should have made a plan for organizing the posts.  But my ambitions were small.  During the time I was teaching mathematics at Bloomsburg University, I gathered poetry (and various historical materials) for assigned readings to enrich the students' course experiences. After my retirement, I had time to want to share these materials -- others were doing well at making historical material accessible to students but I thought poetry linked to mathematics needed to be shared more.  And so, with my posting of a poem I had written long ago celebrating the mathematical life of Emmy Noether, this blog began.  Particular topics featured often in postings include -- verse that celebrate women, verses that speak out against discrimination, verses that worry about climate change.   
You're invited to:
Scroll through the titles below, browsing to find items of interest
among the more-than-nine-hundred postings since March 2010
OR 
Click on any label -- a list is found in the right-hand column below the author profile 
OR
Enter term(s) in the SEARCH box -- and find all posts containing those terms.

 For example, here is a link to the results of a SEARCH using    math women 

And here is a link to a poem by Brian McCabe that celebrates math-woman Sophie Germain.
This link reaches a poem by Joan Cannon that laments her math-anxiety.
This poem expresses some of my own divided feelings.

                                       2017 Posts

Monday, January 15, 2018

Honor Martin Luther King -- think on his words!

Celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King (1929-1968)
with his words-- which include several mathy terms.

We must accept 
finite disappointment
but never lose
infinite hope.                                                             Freedom is never
voluntarily given
by the oppressor; 
it must be demanded
by the oppressed.

When you are right                  
you cannot be too radical;                 
when you are wrong,                  
you cannot be too conservative.                 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Clear the head for best thinking by walking

     An engineer -- and friend -- who is a long-time supporter of the STEM to STEAM program is US Naval Academy Professor Greg Coxson.  Although a member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Coxson has a strong interest in the arts.  He reads widely and has suggested a number of poems  for this blog.  Recently his recommendation was "Solvitur Ambulando" by Billy Collins, a poem found on pages 92-93 of the collection The Rain in Portugal (Random House, 2016).   Below I offer the opening stanza and the final, mathematical, portion of Collins' fine poem.  (Go to the book and read more!)

from   Solvitur Ambulando    "It is solved by walking."     by Billy Collins

       I sometimes wonder about the thoughtful Roman
       who came up with the notion
       that any problem can be solved by walking.
. . .