Friday, April 16, 2010

Poetry Friday - A Mathematical Mash-Up

No! Don't run away! I know the word math is in the title, but there's poetry there too! I have a number of mathematically related poetry gems for you today.

I recently acquired the book Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics. I'm crazy about the poems in it. Here's the first stanza from a poem by X.J. Kennedy.
by X.J. Kennedy

They say who play at blindman's buff
And strive to fathom space
That a straight line drawn long enough
Regains its starting place
And that two lines laid parallel
Which never stop nor swerve
At last will meet, for, strange to tell,
Space throws them both a curve.

Read the poem in its entirety. (Go to page 34.)
You can also find this poem in the October 2002 issue of Poetry Magazine.

My Internet meanderings this week led me somehow to a marvelous posted entitled Mathematics in Poetry. You'll find some excerpts of poems and a really nice analysis. If you work at all with meter, rhythm, or rhyme scheme, you know that poetry is full of mathematical connections.

The round up is being hosted by Jules over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Do stop by and take in all the terrific poetry being shared today. Before you go, be sure to check out this week's poetry stretch results. Happy poetry Friday all!


  1. Oh, thanks for the heads up about this book! I like Phillip Larkin's Counting as well. I think math goes well with relationships; occasionally inexplicable things do well to abide side by side...

  2. Thank you, Tricia! You find and post the most interesting things.
    I also love "Arithmetic" by Carl Sandburg: and Betsy Franco's math poetry books like Mathematickles!

  3. What a wonderful resource, Trisha. Thanks for all of the links.

    Laura Evans
    all things poetry

  4. Thanks for your mention of my article, Mathematics in Poetry, at You may also be interested to visit my blog,
    All best,
    JoAnne Growney

  5. On my computer, the link for the math-poetry anthology-- Strange Attractors -- did not work. Is it just me, or is the link broken?
    PS. I guess I should acknowledge my vested interest -- I am one of the editors of the anthology. :-)

  6. Hi JoAnne,

    Thanks for stopping by and letting me know about the broken link. It is fixed and should be working now.

    If you're interested in K-12 poetry, this thematic book list on math and poetry may be of interest.

    I also have a post entitled The Importance of Math in Our Lives where I share some of the math poetry I use in my teaching.

    Thanks for sharing your resources on math and poetry.

  7. Wow, Tricia--such valuable resource lists you have developed!
    Thanks so much also for those other links--I want to do an upcoming posting about math-poems for young people and will be pleased to link to your pages. In addition, these recommendations are wonderful ideas for me as a grandmother of young children.
    Keep it up!