*The New Yorker*I recently found and enjoyed a poem entitled "The Infinite" by Charles Simic. Here are its opening lines:

The infinite yawns and keeps yawning.

Is it sleepy?

Does it miss Pythagoras?

Mathematical language can heighten the imagery of a poem; mathematical structure can deepen its effect. Feast here on an international menu of poems made rich by mathematical ingredients . . . . . . . gathered by JoAnne Growney.

On page 53 of the February 6 issue of *The New Yorker *I recently found and enjoyed a poem entitled "The Infinite" by Charles Simic. Here are its opening lines:

The infinite yawns and keeps yawning.

Is it sleepy?

Does it miss Pythagoras?

The infinite yawns and keeps yawning.

Is it sleepy?

Does it miss Pythagoras?

Perhaps you need a love poem *for* a mathematician, or *about* a mathematician -- you might enter the words *love* and *mathematician* in the search box to the right and find what this blog has to offer. And here is a link to previous postings that celebrate Valentine's Day. Enjoy!!

Recently my poet-friend, Millicent Borges Accardi, sent me a copy of her latest book, *Only More So* (Salmon Poetry, 2016). She mentioned a poem entitled "The Night of Broken Glass" for its mathematics -- indeed it includes several numbers as it movingly describes attempts at normalcy amid the horrors of urban attack; and it ends with this stanza :

The essential business of living well

Continues in shock waves

That fall into the ground of innocent

People, triggered inside a soul

Of nothingness that pretended

To solve an impossible equation.

My favorite poem in Accardi's collection is "Amazing Grace" which I give you below. It is a poem that, like an intriguing piece of mathematics, I have read, and read again, and again . .. each time getting more meaning than the time before.

For me, one of the similarities of poetry and math is their density, the need for several readings -- for reading both aloud and silently, for reading with pencil and paper for note-taking, for reading in the library and at the kitchen table, sitting or standing.

The essential business of living well

Continues in shock waves

That fall into the ground of innocent

People, triggered inside a soul

Of nothingness that pretended

To solve an impossible equation.

My favorite poem in Accardi's collection is "Amazing Grace" which I give you below. It is a poem that, like an intriguing piece of mathematics, I have read, and read again, and again . .. each time getting more meaning than the time before.

For me, one of the similarities of poetry and math is their density, the need for several readings -- for reading both aloud and silently, for reading with pencil and paper for note-taking, for reading in the library and at the kitchen table, sitting or standing.

Last Sunday evening -- instead of watching Super Bowl LI -- in a crowded theater in downtown Silver Spring I watched the recently-released documentary "I Am Not Your Negro," narrated using words of writer James Baldwin (1924-1986). Baldwin was a contrarian, he avoided or contradicted labels and categories.

One of my favorite quotes -- that I see as intimately related to discovery in mathematics (from Hungarian-American Nobelist, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (1893-1986)) -- applies also to Baldwin:

Discovery is seeing

what everybody else has seen, and thinking

what nobody else has thought.

And here, from*Jimmy's Blues & Other Poems* (Beacon Press, 2014) is Baldwin's little poem "Imagination" which captures the same sort of mind-play that occurs with mathematics.

One of my favorite quotes -- that I see as intimately related to discovery in mathematics (from Hungarian-American Nobelist, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (1893-1986)) -- applies also to Baldwin:

Discovery is seeing

what everybody else has seen, and thinking

what nobody else has thought.

And here, from

In this morning's email I got a link (Thanks, Greg Coxson!) to this story that celebrates the talented mathematician and compassionate human being, Francis Su. Dr Su (of Harvey Mudd College) has recently completed a term as president of the Mathematical Association of America. Here is a link to Dr Su's retiring presidential address -- for which he received a standing ovation. Read. Learn. Admire. Celebrate. Imitate!

Scrolling down in this blog to my posting for January 11, 2017 will lead you to links to several**poems that celebrate mathematicians**. And a blog-SEARCH using "mathematician" will find even more such poems. Enjoy!

A thorough advocate in a just cause,

a penetrating mathematician facing the starry heavens,

both alike bear the semblance of divinity.

-- Goethe (1749-1832)

Scrolling down in this blog to my posting for January 11, 2017 will lead you to links to several

A thorough advocate in a just cause,

a penetrating mathematician facing the starry heavens,

both alike bear the semblance of divinity.

-- Goethe (1749-1832)

My scan of this morning's *Washington Post* did not find a mention of today's important status as Groundhog Day -- and I am worried that perhaps the new President 45 has banned these useful creatures. If you wish, you may search this blog for postings related to **Groundhog Day** and, if you do, you can get these results. Enjoy!

Here are the titles and dates of previous blog postings,

moving backward from the present.

Jan 31 Life is Short

Jan 29 Girls can do EVERYTHING!

Jan 26 Ultimately, all mathematics is poetry . . .

Jan 23 All Mathematicians are Equal!

Jan 19 Dickens, from A Tale of Two Cities

Jan 16 Celebrate Martin Luther King

Jan 11 Poems starring mathematicians

Jan 6 2017 is prime!

These recent days in the reign of the 45th US President have given new drama to the word *survival*. Looking for wisdom I revisited this poem, a survival-poem with a couple of numbers -- by Maggie Smith -- found at one of my favorite sources for poetry, PoetryFoundation.org.

**Good Bones ** by Maggie Smith

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.

Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine

in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,

a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways

I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least

fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative

estimate, though I keep this from my children.

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.

Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine

in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,

a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways

I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least

fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative

estimate, though I keep this from my children.

In a conversation years ago with one my math colleagues at Bloomsburg University, each of us learned that the other had grown up on a farm. My colleague credited the problem-solving requirements of farm-life with being good training for mathematics. In time, I came to agree with him. Some environments EXPECT you to be a problem-solver and, in spite of yourself, you comply. I have tried to write poetically about this. My efforts so far include these 3x3 syllable-square poems.

**Girls who change **
**light-bulbs change **
**everything! **

** Girls who prove**
** theorems can**
** do it all!**

And, here is a link to a recent NPR story about the underestimates that girls make about how smart they are -- so little has changed since I was a girl. Hoping I can help to change things for my granddaughters!

A popular vote on the truth of "all mathematics is poetry" might not lead to its affirmation. Because mathematics is a concise language, with emphasis on placing the best words in the best order, it often is described *by mathematicians and scientists* as poetry. Alternatively, and more accessible to most readers than poetic mathematics, we find verses by poets who include the objects and terminology of mathematics in their lines.

Perhaps due to aesthetic distance (featured in*The Art of Mathematics* by Jerry King), non-math poets like Christina M. Rau are able to be more playful in their uses of mathematical vocabulary than mathematicians dare to be. Enjoy below several stanzas from Rau's collection,* Liberating the Astronauts* -- which also includes titles like "Chasing Zero" and "Kepler's Laws" -- soon to be released by Aqueduct Press.

from:** Overnight Rain ** by Christina M. Rau

Rain over Night

Equals

X over Autumn

Perhaps due to aesthetic distance (featured in

from:

Rain over Night

Equals

X over Autumn

Last Saturday's Women's March in Washington was one the great events of my lifetime -- the feeling of community that bonded us participants was palpable. We chatted and hugged and celebrated our differences and our common ideals. Here is a photo of the sign that I carried and, beneath the sign, are links to poems about women in mathematics who struggled to be considered equal.

This link leads to "Hanging Fire" by Audre Lorde. This link leads to a few words of mine, "Square Attitudes." A posting on girls and mathematics includes samples from Sharon Olds and Kyoko Mori and is available here.

This is the sign I carried at the Women's March on January 21, 2017. |

This link leads to "Hanging Fire" by Audre Lorde. This link leads to a few words of mine, "Square Attitudes." A posting on girls and mathematics includes samples from Sharon Olds and Kyoko Mori and is available here.

Labels:
Audre Lorde,
equal,
Kyoko Mori,
Sharon Olds,
Women's March

Today I am facing tomorrow and the inauguration ceremony of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. With many uncertainties and little mathematics in mind (s*ee, however, math-poem link below*), I have looked back to the opening words of *A Tale of Two Cities* by Charles Dickens (1812-1870). Published in 1859, these words echo some of my thoughts today.

It was the best of times,

it was the worst of times,

it was the age of wisdom,

it was the age of foolishness,

it was the epoch of belief,

it was the epoch of incredulity,

it was the season of Light,

it was the season of Darkness,

it was the spring of hope,

it was the winter of despair,

we had everything before us,

we had nothing before us . . .

Here is a link to a poem posted in 2014 that also features the words of Dickens. Written by Halifax mathematician and poet Robert Dawson, that 2014 poem was formed by applying a mathematical procedure to a passage from Dickens'*Great Expectations*.

It was the best of times,

it was the worst of times,

it was the age of wisdom,

it was the age of foolishness,

it was the epoch of belief,

it was the epoch of incredulity,

it was the season of Light,

it was the season of Darkness,

it was the spring of hope,

it was the winter of despair,

we had everything before us,

we had nothing before us . . .

Here is a link to a poem posted in 2014 that also features the words of Dickens. Written by Halifax mathematician and poet Robert Dawson, that 2014 poem was formed by applying a mathematical procedure to a passage from Dickens'

Labels:
Charles Dickens,
Donald Trump,
Robert Dawson

Today is our public celebration of the January 15 birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr (1929-1968) who was both preacher and poet in the "I have a dream" speech he delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963.

Dr King's speech began with:

Five score years ago, a great American,

in whose symbolic shadow we stand

signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

This momentous decree came as a

great beacon light of hope

to millions of Negro slaves who had been

seared in the flames of withering injustice.

Dr King's speech began with:

Five score years ago, a great American,

in whose symbolic shadow we stand

signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

This momentous decree came as a

great beacon light of hope

to millions of Negro slaves who had been

seared in the flames of withering injustice.

One of the challenges posed by a multi-year blog is locating interesting old posts. One of my frequent early topics was "poems starring mathematicians" and I offer links to several of these **from 2011** below:

December 8 "Monsieur Probability" by Brian McCabe

November 13 My abecedarian poems, "I Know a Mathematician" and "Mathematician"

July 5 "Fixed Points" by Susan Case -- about mathematicians in Poland during WWII

July 2 "To Myself" by Abba Kovner

January 30 "Mr Glusenkamp," a sonnet to a geometry teacher by Ronald Wallace

January 28 "Mathematician" by Sherman K Stein

And, here is a link, via PoemHunter.com to "The Mathematician in Love," a poem by William John Macquorn Rankine, a poem that appears also in the multi-variable anthology,*Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics* (AK Peters, 2008), edited by Sarah Glaz and me. Here is the first (of 8) stanza of Rankine's entertaining poem:

A mathematician fell madly in love

With a lady, young, handsome, and charming:

By angles and ratios harmonic he strove

Her curves and proportions all faultless to prove.

As he scrawled hieroglyphics alarming.

December 8 "Monsieur Probability" by Brian McCabe

November 13 My abecedarian poems, "I Know a Mathematician" and "Mathematician"

July 5 "Fixed Points" by Susan Case -- about mathematicians in Poland during WWII

July 2 "To Myself" by Abba Kovner

January 30 "Mr Glusenkamp," a sonnet to a geometry teacher by Ronald Wallace

January 28 "Mathematician" by Sherman K Stein

And, here is a link, via PoemHunter.com to "The Mathematician in Love," a poem by William John Macquorn Rankine, a poem that appears also in the multi-variable anthology,

A mathematician fell madly in love

With a lady, young, handsome, and charming:

By angles and ratios harmonic he strove

Her curves and proportions all faultless to prove.

As he scrawled hieroglyphics alarming.

For her December 31 posting in Roots of Unity (*Scientific American* blog) mathematician Evelyn Lamb wrote about favorite primes -- and starring in her list is our new year-number, 2017.

My own relationship with primes also is admiring-- here is an excerpt from my poem, "Fool's Gold," (found in full here) that suggests a prime as a suitable birthday gift:

Select and give a number. I like large primes—

they check my tendency to subdivide

myself among the dreams that tease

like iron pyrites in declining light.

"Fool's Gold" appears in my chapbook,*My Dance is Mathematics *(Paper Kite Press, 2006); the collection is now out-of-print but is available online here.

Several poems about primes have been included in earlier postings in this blog. For example, here is a link to a 2013 posting of "The Sieve of Erastosthenes" by Robin Chapman. And, for further exploration, here is a link to the results of searching the six years of postings using the term "**prime**."

My own relationship with primes also is admiring-- here is an excerpt from my poem, "Fool's Gold," (found in full here) that suggests a prime as a suitable birthday gift:

Select and give a number. I like large primes—

they check my tendency to subdivide

myself among the dreams that tease

like iron pyrites in declining light.

"Fool's Gold" appears in my chapbook,

Several poems about primes have been included in earlier postings in this blog. For example, here is a link to a 2013 posting of "The Sieve of Erastosthenes" by Robin Chapman. And, for further exploration, here is a link to the results of searching the six years of postings using the term "

Here are the titles and dates of previous blog postings,

moving backward from the present.

Dec 31 Happy New Year! -- Resolve to REWARD WOMEN!

Dec 27 Celebrate Vera Rubin -- a WOMAN of science!

Dec 26 Post-Christmas reflections from W. H. Auden

Dec 19 Numbers for Christmas . . .

Dec 15 Remembering Thomas Schelling (1921-2016)

Dec 12 When one isn't enough ... words from a Cuban poet

My December 27 post celebrated the life of **Vera Rubin **(b 1928) who died on Christmas Day -- and a more recent *Washington Post* article by columnist Petula Dvorak has used the example of Vera Rubin to call further attention to ongoing discrimination against high-achieving women.

On a different note, my e-mail "poem-a-day" from poets.org is "Earthy Anecdotes" by Reading, Pennsylvania poet Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)-- follow this link to visit the poem (with its morsel of mathematics) and see the vivid image of Oklahoma bucks moving in**"a swift, circular line"**.

**Happy New Year, 2017!**

On a different note, my e-mail "poem-a-day" from poets.org is "Earthy Anecdotes" by Reading, Pennsylvania poet Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)-- follow this link to visit the poem (with its morsel of mathematics) and see the vivid image of Oklahoma bucks moving in

Labels:
Petula Dvorak,
Vera Rubin,
Wallace Stevens

This morning's *Washington Post *carried an obituary of Vera Rubin (1928-2016), a pioneering astronomer who confirmed the existence of dark matter. Yesterday's NPR feature -- noting Rubin's death and celebrating her life -- contained several quotes from this outstanding scientist about women's roles. Two of these poetic statements I have shaped into syllable-square stanzas:

World wide, half

of all brains

are women's.

A favorite writer whose works I enjoy again and again is English poet W. H. Auden (1907-1973). Here is a mathy excerpt from a very long Auden poem (around 1500 lines) entitled "FOR THE TIME BEING: A Christmas Oratorio," written during World War II and available in his *Collected Poems*.

The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,

And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware

Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought

Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now

Be very far off. But, for the time being, here we all are,

Back in the moderate Aristotelian city

Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid's geometry

And Newton's mechanics would account for our experience,

And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.

Another mathy Auden poem, "Numbers and Faces," is available here. And this link leads to more of his work.

The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,

And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware

Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought

Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now

Be very far off. But, for the time being, here we all are,

Back in the moderate Aristotelian city

Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid's geometry

And Newton's mechanics would account for our experience,

And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.

Another mathy Auden poem, "Numbers and Faces," is available here. And this link leads to more of his work.

o n

t o p

g i v e

l i g h t

f r e e l y

f o r e v e r

a b u n d a n t

b r i l l i a n t

e v e r y w h e r e

Christmas is coming and I have looked back to earlier posts for holiday greetings -- a version of the growing snowball poem above was first posted in 2012 and here, from 2010, is a Christmas verse that celebrates pi:

On December 13, Nobel-prize-winning economist Thomas Schelling (b 1921) died. I had the privilege of meeting this outstanding scholar in Cambridge, MA back in 1980 when I dropped by his office after hearing him lecture at the Kennedy School of Government. I became very interested in his ideas of critical mass (found along with lots of other good stuff in *Micromotives and Macrobehavior* and eventually included the topic in a textbook that I wrote for a *liberal arts* mathematics course, "Mathematical Thinking," that I helped to develop at Bloomsburg University.

I want to honor Schelling with a poem, but . . .

I

can’t

find a

poem for

Thomas Schelling – thus

I am compelled to write this Fib.

* Thanks for thinking well, for sharing your keen thoughts with us. *

I want to honor Schelling with a poem, but . . .

I

can’t

find a

poem for

Thomas Schelling – thus

I am compelled to write this Fib.

(Fibonacci Numbers: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 . . .)

Last week I traveled (as part of an organized people-to-people program) to Cuba. I will need many days to sort and digest and organize the details of that experience.

Neither poetry nor mathematics was part of our Cuba schedule but I did have a chance to visit the sparse collection at La Moderna Poesia in Havana and to purchase their only two bilingual poetry collections (by poets JosÃ© MartÃ and NicolÃ¡s GuillÃ©n). The PoetryFoundation website has introduced me to the work of Cuban poet Omar PÃ©rez (son of Ernesto "Che" Guevara) and I found there, at this link, PÃ©rez's poem "The Progression" -- which includes some mathematical ideas.

**The Progression ** by Omar PÃ©rez

translated by Kristin Dykstra

When one isn’t enough, you need two

when two aren’t enough, you need four

with four the progression begins, moving toward a number

that schoolteachers will call absurd.

Neither poetry nor mathematics was part of our Cuba schedule but I did have a chance to visit the sparse collection at La Moderna Poesia in Havana and to purchase their only two bilingual poetry collections (by poets JosÃ© MartÃ and NicolÃ¡s GuillÃ©n). The PoetryFoundation website has introduced me to the work of Cuban poet Omar PÃ©rez (son of Ernesto "Che" Guevara) and I found there, at this link, PÃ©rez's poem "The Progression" -- which includes some mathematical ideas.

translated by Kristin Dykstra

When one isn’t enough, you need two

when two aren’t enough, you need four

with four the progression begins, moving toward a number

that schoolteachers will call absurd.

Repeating what has become an annual tradition, the Joint Mathematics Meetings of 2017 in Atlanta will include a poetry reading.

**Thursday January 5, 2017, 5:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. **

Regency Ballroom VII, Ballroom Level, Hyatt Regency

__Here is info about the reading and how to participate__: **Poetry + Math**, organized by Gizem Karaali, Pomona College; Lawrence M. Lesser, University of Texas at El Paso; and Douglas Norton, Villanova University; Thursday, January 5, 5:30–7:00 pm. All who are interested in mathematical poetry and/or mathematical art are invited. **Though we do not discourage last-minute decisions to participate, we invite and encourage poets to **__submit poetry__ (no more than three poems, no longer than five minutes) __and a bio in advance__—and, as a result, be listed on our printed program. __Inquiries and submissions (by December 15, 2016) may be made to Gizem Karaali (gizem.karaali@pomona.edu).__ Sponsors for this event are the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics and SIGMAA ARTS. A complete program for the Mathematics Meetings is available here.

Regency Ballroom VII, Ballroom Level, Hyatt Regency

A dozen years ago I visited Edinburgh and there became acquainted with the poetry of Scottish writer Muriel Spark (1918-2006) -- prior to that visit I had known Spark only as a novelist. Today -- prompted by Thanksgiving celebration with grandchildren -- I have remembered an English rhyme that my own grandmother teased me with in childhood, "Going to St Ives" and, from there, I've recalled a pair of Spark's rhymes that follow a similar pattern. I offer them below; despite strong rhyme, these are not entirely light fare--instead, they make us aware of the sad multiplication of bonds and wounds . . .

** Conundrum ** by Muriel Spark

As I was going to Handover Fists

I met a man with seven wrists.

The seven wrists had seven hands;

As I was going to Handover Fists

I met a man with seven wrists.

The seven wrists had seven hands;

This poem by Emily Warn (a founder of PoetryFoundation.org) uses mathematical terminology to introduce us to the immeasurable horror of death by slow torture. May our nation never again engage in such atrocities!

**The Vanishing Point ** by Emily Warn

You slow down to watch cumulus clouds stream across the

sky. You choose a more circuitous route home and pass a

tree with white bags tied around random apples. The apples

remind you of clouds, how each hangs in the sky, singular

yet part of a flock. Each item in the flock is a coordinate of

earth and sky, enumerating space. The flocks of apples and

clouds are actual infinities, an endless collection of discrete

items that one can conceivably count to the end. This is

You slow down to watch cumulus clouds stream across the

sky. You choose a more circuitous route home and pass a

tree with white bags tied around random apples. The apples

remind you of clouds, how each hangs in the sky, singular

yet part of a flock. Each item in the flock is a coordinate of

earth and sky, enumerating space. The flocks of apples and

clouds are actual infinities, an endless collection of discrete

items that one can conceivably count to the end. This is

California math teacher, poet and editor, Carol Dorf is a vital force in the production and dissemination of mathy poems. A blog SEARCH using her name will find links to all of my mentions of her activity. Here is one such link -- to my list of titles of mathy poems in Talking-Writing, an online journal for which Dorf is poetry editor. Dorf's poem below speaks of Ada Lovelace, a math-woman who has been featured herein on July 16, 2015 and September 18, 2015.

Mathematics is "a well-constructed language." |

Dorf's "Ada" first appeared in Volume 14 of T*he Mom Egg Review*.

One of the fine new anthologies of 2016 is *Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin*, published by W W Norton -- put together by Phil Cushway (Compiler), Michael Warr (Editor), and Victoria Smith (Photographer). Here, from that collection, are the opening stanzas of Marilyn Nelson's "Cells and Windows" -- a poem that gains much of its power from the awful truth conveyed by its numbers.

**Cells and Windows ** by Marilyn Nelson

*after work by neogeo painter Peter Halley *

Black men in their prime

working years, especially

those without a high school

diploma, are much more likely

to be in jail than white men are.

(a) true (b) true

Black men in their prime

working years, especially

those without a high school

diploma, are much more likely

to be in jail than white men are.

(a) true (b) true

Labels:
Emmett Till,
Marilyn Nelson,
Peter Halley,
protest,
Trayvon Martin

<< >>

I found an lovely little autumn poem (after William Carlos Williams' "The Red Wheelbarrow") by Michael Khmelnitsky -- who declined to let me use it herein, and so I offer a link to it -- enjoy "The Gaussian Function."
<< >>

Today, November 7, is the birthday of Marie Curie (1867-1934, Nobel prize in physics, 1903). Curie is celebrated in this poem by Richard Aston, first posted in this blog on December 6, 2014 along with two other math-science-themed poems.

**Scientist ** by Richard Aston

It took more than a figure, face, skin, and hair

for me to become Marie Curie,

wife of simple, smiling, selective, Pierre

who could recognize — because he was one — my genius.

It took more than a figure, face, skin, and hair

for me to become Marie Curie,

wife of simple, smiling, selective, Pierre

who could recognize — because he was one — my genius.

Recently I was browsing through an oldish collection, *The Best American Poetry 1999* (edited by Robert Bly) where I found and liked this poem by Marcia Southwick -- a poem that drew me in with its anti-pollution attitudes and its enumeration of some of the costs of pollution.

**A Star Is Born in the Eagle Nebula ** by Marcia Southwick

* To Larry Levis, 1946–1996*

They’ve finally admitted that trying to save oil-soaked

seabirds doesn’t work. You can wash them, rinse them

with a high-pressure nozzle, feed them activated charcoal

to absorb toxic chemicals, & test them for anemia, but the oil

still disrupts the microscopic alignment of feathers that creates

a kind of wet suit around the body. (Besides, it costs $6oo to wash

the oil slick off a penguin & $32,000 to clean an Alaskan seabird.)

They’ve finally admitted that trying to save oil-soaked

seabirds doesn’t work. You can wash them, rinse them

with a high-pressure nozzle, feed them activated charcoal

to absorb toxic chemicals, & test them for anemia, but the oil

still disrupts the microscopic alignment of feathers that creates

a kind of wet suit around the body. (Besides, it costs $6oo to wash

the oil slick off a penguin & $32,000 to clean an Alaskan seabird.)

St. Louis poet Constance Levy is an acclaimed author of children's poetry -- I found her poem "Madinat as Salam" (included below) in the collection, *Heart to Heart*, (Edited by Jan Greenberg; Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2001), a beautifully presented and illustrated anthology of poems inspired by American art. Enjoy!

Frank Stella. Madinat as Salam III 1971. Acrylic on canvas |

The puzzle of **nothing** actually being **something** is central to our use of numbers -- and I use it today as an excuse to link to a Bob Dylan song and celebrate his recent Nobel prize. Below I offer one (the 3rd, of six) of the stanzas of "Too Much of Nothing" -- followed by a link to the complete lyrics. (And for those readers seeking other poems of **nothing**, here is a link to blog poetry from 2011 about division by zero, this link leads to making something of nothing . . . and this link leads to several **nothing** links -- it was found via a blog search using the search term "zero.")

from** Too Much of Nothing ** by Bob Dylan

Too much of nothing

Can make a man abuse a king

He can walk the streets and boast like most

But he wouldn’t know a thing

Now, it’s all been done before

It’s all been written in the book

But when there’s too much of nothing

Nobody should look

Here is a link to the complete lyrics of "Too Much of Nothing." Enjoy.

from

Too much of nothing

Can make a man abuse a king

He can walk the streets and boast like most

But he wouldn’t know a thing

Now, it’s all been done before

It’s all been written in the book

But when there’s too much of nothing

Nobody should look

Here is a link to the complete lyrics of "Too Much of Nothing." Enjoy.

This blog adds some poetry to the celebratory fare -- here is a link (from a 2011 posting) to a poem

Robert Dawson, a mathematician and poet from Halifax, Nova Scotia, is wide-ranging in the mathematics that he includes in poetry. Here is a link to my posting of his "Statistical Lament." Still others may be found with a SEARCH using the poet's name.

Dawson's poem below is motivated by chaos and period doublings -- and their patterns -- a complicated system that, under certain conditions approaches a number called Feigenbaum's constant. (Mitchell Feigenbaum is a mathematical physicist who did pioneering work in chaos theory. "Feigenbaum" is a German surname meaning "Fig Tree" -- hence the title of the poem.) Probably you will want to read the poem aloud to get a feel for the rhythmic patterns -- and chaos -- that Dawson has designed for us.

**Fig Tree Rag ** (*after Scott Joplin*) by Robert Dawson

The music drifts across the room:

from clarinet and saxophone

a sliding stream of melody,

piano chords beneath it, and

upon the cymbal and the snare

the drummer paints a lazy beat

with wire brushes, regular

and cool and uninflected as

a music teacher’s metronome.

Dawson's poem below is motivated by chaos and period doublings -- and their patterns -- a complicated system that, under certain conditions approaches a number called Feigenbaum's constant. (Mitchell Feigenbaum is a mathematical physicist who did pioneering work in chaos theory. "Feigenbaum" is a German surname meaning "Fig Tree" -- hence the title of the poem.) Probably you will want to read the poem aloud to get a feel for the rhythmic patterns -- and chaos -- that Dawson has designed for us.

The music drifts across the room:

from clarinet and saxophone

a sliding stream of melody,

piano chords beneath it, and

upon the cymbal and the snare

the drummer paints a lazy beat

with wire brushes, regular

and cool and uninflected as

a music teacher’s metronome.

Here, by Voltaire, is a poem about mathematician/scientist Ã‰milie du ChÃ¢telet (1706-1749) -- who explained Newton's physics but was not remembered for her own work as she should have been.

**At this link**, one may begin to learn about du ChÃ¢telet's many contributions.

** The Divine Ã‰milie ** by Voltaire (1694-1778)

Here's a portrait of my Ã‰milie:

She's both a beauty and a friend to me.

Her keen imagination is always in bloom.

Her noble mind brightens every room.

She's possessed of charm and wit,

Though sometimes shows too much of it.

She has, I assure you, a genius rare.

With Horace and Newton, she can compare.

Yet, she will sit for hours and hours

With people who bore her

And card-playing gamblers.

Here's a portrait of my Ã‰milie:

She's both a beauty and a friend to me.

Her keen imagination is always in bloom.

Her noble mind brightens every room.

She's possessed of charm and wit,

Though sometimes shows too much of it.

She has, I assure you, a genius rare.

With Horace and Newton, she can compare.

Yet, she will sit for hours and hours

With people who bore her

And card-playing gamblers.

Labels:
Emilie du Chatelet,
Isaac Newton,
Voltaire

Today I celebrate British partnership with Romanian poetry!

One of the internet treasures I have found is to
The Contemporary Literature Press, under The University of Bucharest,

in conjunction with The British Council, The Romanian Cultural Institute,

and The Embassy of Ireland.

We publish poetry, fiction, drama and criticism, in the original and in translation,

whether English or Romanian.

We are a well-fused group of staff and graduate students,

very enthusiastic about our work.

This particular link from

Have you seen the way the day grows

around you, neither perpendicular

nor horizontal—

News last month from UC Berkeley's School of Information described a computer that writes poetry. In particular, it writes sonnets. This article describes in much detail the creation of several sonnet stanzas. This link offers the winner in Dartmouth's 2016 PoetiX sonnet-generation competition -- in which Berkeley earned a second. Here, from an article in *Slate*, is an example of what Berkeley's generator produced:

Kindred pens my path lies where a flock of

feast in natures mysteries an adept

you are my songs my soft skies shine above

love after my restless eyes I have kept.

Kindred pens my path lies where a flock of

feast in natures mysteries an adept

you are my songs my soft skies shine above

love after my restless eyes I have kept.

Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673) was an English aristocrat, scientist, writer and philosopher. The following interesting and charming poem by Cavendish I found in *A Quark for Mister Mark: 101 Poems about Science*, edited by Maurice Riordan and Jon Turney (Faber & Faber, 2000).

** Of many Worlds in this World ** by Margaret Cavendish

Just like as in a*Nest of Boxes* round,

Degrees of Sizes in each Box are found:

So, in this*World*, may many others be

Thinner and less, and less still by degree:

Although they are not subject to our*sense*,

A World may be no bigger than*Two-pence*.

Just like as in a

Degrees of Sizes in each Box are found:

So, in this

Thinner and less, and less still by degree:

Although they are not subject to our

A World may be no bigger than

Along the north branch of the Susquehanna River in east-central Pennsylvania lies the town of Bloomsburg -- known for Bloomsburg University (where I taught math for a bunch of years) and for the Bloomsburg Fair -- an annual celebration that attracts hundreds of thousands of people during each last week of September.

I grew up loving fairs -- in my hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania, the last week of August brought the Indiana County Fair where we celebrated, with livestock and a carnival, the end of summer vacation.

More than twenty years ago I gathered some of my Bloomsburg Fair memories in a poem. The entire poem is found at this link; below I offer a sample of the mathy imagery from the poem.

from**The Bloomsburg Fair** by JoAnne Growney

. . .

In front of side-show tents,

a barker barks his come-on-ins.

Why don't my students receive theorems

as willingly as passersby

accept his lies?

. . .

If parallels will never meet—

then here's a man with snakes for hair,

and there's a woman with three eyes.

This poem appears in the anthology,*COMMON WEALTH: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania*, Edited by Marjorie Maddox and Jerry Wemple, (2005, PSU Press).

I grew up loving fairs -- in my hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania, the last week of August brought the Indiana County Fair where we celebrated, with livestock and a carnival, the end of summer vacation.

More than twenty years ago I gathered some of my Bloomsburg Fair memories in a poem. The entire poem is found at this link; below I offer a sample of the mathy imagery from the poem.

from

. . .

In front of side-show tents,

a barker barks his come-on-ins.

Why don't my students receive theorems

as willingly as passersby

accept his lies?

. . .

If parallels will never meet—

then here's a man with snakes for hair,

and there's a woman with three eyes.

This poem appears in the anthology,

During these days in which discrimination against math-women happens again and again I have wanted to write a poem that celebrates us. My efforts at traditional verse seemed whining. Sense left me. Eventually this came:

**M** ultiply

**A** xioms,

**T** risect

**H** yperbolas,

**W** ager

**O** rthogonal

**M **artingales

**A **ll

**N **ight **!**

**Dear reader, please share your own words -- via comments below! **

I was an active participant in HMNJ -- contributing articles and serving for several years as poetry editor -- and have enjoyed browsing the archives. One of my articles, "Mathematics and Poetry: Isolated or Integrated" is available here (Issue 6, 1991).

It is well-known that Nobel Prizes

Come in many shapes and sizes.

But one is missing from the list --

The Nobel Math Prize does not exist.

Labels:
Alfred Nobel,
Humanistic Mathematics,
William Dunham

Here's poem found in an old email from my Bloomsburg friend, Janice B. Its authors turn out to be Fred Bremmer and Steve Kroese and they penned it around 1990, using computer keyboard characters, during their student days at Calvin College. Enjoy!

< > ! * ' ' #*read as* Waka waka bang splat tick tick hash

^ " ` $ $ - Caret quote back-tick dollar dollar dash

! * = @ $ _ Bang splat equal at dollar underscore

% * < > ~ # 4 Percent splat waka waka tilde number 4

& [ ] . . / Ampersand bracket bracket dot dot slash

| { , , SYSTEM HALTED Vertical-bar curly-bracket comma comma CRASH.

___________________________________

< > ! * ' ' #

^ " ` $ $ - Caret quote back-tick dollar dollar dash

! * = @ $ _ Bang splat equal at dollar underscore

% * < > ~ # 4 Percent splat waka waka tilde number 4

& [ ] . . / Ampersand bracket bracket dot dot slash

| { , , SYSTEM HALTED Vertical-bar curly-bracket comma comma CRASH.

Labels:
Bloomsburg,
computer keyboard,
Fred Bremmer,
Steve Kroese

1 Not

1 one

2 circle

3 is perfect

5 yet the idea

8 of circle's useful every day.

The beauty of images and the ideas they represent is central in both

Labels:
Carol Dorf,
circle,
Karen Ohlson,
perfect,
talkingwriting.com

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visit http://joannegrowney.com/**. **

**This link **leads to to a file of suggested search topics.

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