A Tour of Intersections: Poetry with Mathematics

I don’t know about you, but between coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and political discussions looking ahead to this year’s presidential elections, I have been encountering a lot of stress-inducing content lately. Reading poetry is a welcome break from that, so here is a roundup of a few of my favorite posts from the last few months on the Intersections: Poetry with Mathematics blog.

“A MATH WOMAN acrostic poem”

In this short post, JoAnne Growney challenges readers to “describe a MATH WOMAN in 9 words? and, what if those words’ first letters must spell MATH WOMAN?”

After all, March is still Women’s History Month.

I’m still thinking of ideas for my poem.

“Those trains in word problems — who rides them?”

This post is about the poem “A Problem in a Math Book” by Yehuda Amichai. The poem was originally written in Hebrew before being translated into more than 40 other languages, Growney’s post notes.

If I had to pick a favorite line from the poem, it would be this part (about two trains in a math problem): “And no one ever asked what happens when they meet.”

“Learning slowly . . savoring difficulty . . .”

Growney shares one of her own poems called “Reflection,” which is about her mathematics learning process.

I relate deeply to this line. ” My notes were three times as long as what I had read.”

“Poetically exploring the the invention of ‘i'”

Featuring an except from “The Mathematical i” by Punya Mishra.

“Dogs Know . . . Mathematics”

This piece explores the poem “Dogs Know” by Larry Lesser, which first appeared in the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics and was also featured on NPR. I really enjoy the section of the poem that talks about the dog solving a packing problem, but I think my favorite phrase from the poem is:

My dog knows trigonometry, tracking
periodic rhythms
of moon
and heart.

Finally, Growney’s blog also has two posts (this one and this one) about the three winning poems in the 2020 AMS Math Poetry Contest: “Outlier,” by Sabrina Little, “The Number Won,” by Austen Mazenko and “x² + y² = 1(ife),” by Chenyu Lin, Colorado Christian University.

Have ideas or feedback to share with us? You can reach us in the comments below or on Twitter (@writesRCrowell)!

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2 Responses to A Tour of Intersections: Poetry with Mathematics

  1. Nithya says:

    I will agree with you that Math is the best way to keep us engaged in isolation for hours, Rachel. I loved the MATH WOMAN acrostic poem. I will choose poetry anytime over any other subject. The best part about Math is finding the actual problem from the given solution.

  2. Math Drills says:

    Thanks for article is amazing

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