Click of the Wrist – What’s in a Poem?

It’s the last weekend before taxes are due?and amidst all the tax calculations and number crunching, It’s easy to forget that April is also National Poetry month. But the two don’t have to be separate. As Thoreau wrote, ?The most distinct and beautiful statement of any truth must take at last the mathematical form.? This week, combine both areas and explore the unique literary science of mathematical poetry:

The Past
Mathematical poetry has been around since the days of the ancients, and some of the world’s most famous poets (Coleridge and St. Vincent Millay, for example) have pointed to mathematics as a high form of poetic expression. This Slate article provides a good background of the history of mathematical poetry?and where it might be headed in the future.

The Present
Poet JoAnne Growney’s blog ?Intersections ? Poetry with Mathematics? explores the use of mathematical language and structure to ?heighten the imagery of a poem . . . [and] deepen its effect.? It also hosts a fantastic collection of ?poems made rich by mathematical ingredients.?

The Future
If you want to dig a little deeper, spend some time scrolling through this fascinating mathematical poetry blog. Written by artist-engineer Kaz Maslanka, it covers current thought on the poetry of mathematics, particularly as expressed in equations. Start out with the post ?What Is Mathematical Poetry?? and read on to gain a better understanding of how numbers may be also used as ?language for connotation.?

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