Friday, August 24, 2012

Poetry Friday - Edgar Allan Poe's Pie

I'm a sucker for math poetry, love parodies, and am a J. Patrick Lewis fangirl, so it should come as no surprise that the book I shared with all my teachers this summer was EDGAR ALLAN POE'S PIE: MATH PUZZLERS IN CLASSIC POEMS.

What's not to love about cleverly disguised math problems? Or rib-tickling parodies of classic poems?

Can you guess the classic that inspired this poem?
Once upon a midnight rotten,
Cold, and rainy, I'd forgotten
All about the apple pie
Still cooling from the hour before.
I ignored the frightful stranger
Knocking, knocking . . . I, sleepwalking,
Pitter-pattered toward the pantry,
Took a knife from the kitchen drawer,
And screamed aloud, "How many cuts
Give me ten pieces?" through the door,
          The stranger bellowed, "Never four!"
Go ahead, draw a circle and give it a try! The answer can be found upside-down on the opposing page. (Look it up or figure it out because I'm not telling!) Mathematically you could use four cuts, however, the pieces would not be equal in size.

Another poem takes the final lines of "Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening" and replaces them with these words:
My tightie whities look so sad.
My tightie whities look so sad.
Yup, it's sacrilege of the best kind. Kids will have fun reading and solving these. Hopefully some smart teachers will share the originals with kids and maybe even have them try some mathematical parodies of their own.

Here's one more to whet your appetite. Yes, it contains fractions, but be brave!
Edward Lear's Elephant with Hot Dog
Inspired by "There Was An Old Man With a Beard" by Edward Lear 
When an elephant sat down to order
A half of a third of a quarter
     Of an eighty-foot bun
     And a frankfurter, son
Was it longer than three feet, or shorter?
The round up this week is being hosted by Doraine Bennett at Dori Reads. Do stop by and take in the terrific poetry being share. Happy poetry Friday!


  1. Don't know how he does it! These are hilarious and so, so clever. He makes math painless -- a great feat! How can you not love a poet who writes about pie and hot dogs and tightie whities?? Easy to see why you had to share this book with your teachers this summer :).

  2. What a fun idea! I loved the poems, loved the illustrations, and solved everything but tightie whities. What am I missing???

    1. Here's a hint!

      And miles to go before I sleep,
      And miles to go before I sleep.

  3. Looks great-I've sent it on to math teachers, too! Still don't have the tight whities either. Thanks, Tricia!

  4. Actually, I didn't post the portion of the Frost parody that includes the math, so there's nothing to get! I just thought folks might enjoy these lines!

  5. Okay. Sold. Gotta have this one!

    Welcome back! Glad to see you got your office back and your books on their shelves. I sighed a great sigh of relief for you!

    I'm going to try like the dickens to take part in the poetry stretches...but I'm already becoming engulfed in school. But just know I'm over here giving it a go!

  6. Oh, he's a clever one, that Pat. I am a mathophobe, but now I have to get this if only for the completely unexpected tightie whities line. And hey, maybe I'll learn sumpin'!

  7. Okay, I literally laughed out loud when I got to "Never four."
    Yes, sacrilege of the best kind. Wonderful! I can't wait to share this one.

  8. My son and I just did the math for that last limerick over breakfast. :-)