Readings and Poetry Selections for "Mathematics in Poetry"

Contributed Paper Session, "The Scholarship of Humanistic Mathematics"
AMS-MAA Joint Meetings, Orlando, Florida January 13, 1996

presentation by
JoAnne Growney
japoet@msn.com


Back to Orlando: Humanistic Math


Readings for "Mathematics in Poetry"

Baumel, Judith, The Weight of Numbers, Wesleyan University Press, 1988.
Includes "Fibonacci," "Thirty-six Poets."

Dodson, Norman E., Math Poetry and Stuff, collected by Norman E. Dodson. Carlton Press, 1981.
Includes "To a Basketball Player Named Fred" by C. Ray Wylie and other limericks.

Dove, Rita, Selected Poems, New York, Vintage Books, 1993.
In 1993 Rita Dove was named Poet Laureate of the United States, the youngest person and the first Afro-American to hold this honor. In "Geometry" (page 17) she describes the ecstasy that results from obtaining the proof of a difficult theorem.

Fadiman, Clifton, The Mathematical Magpie, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1962. Also Fantasia Mathematica, 1958.
Magpie includes essays, rhymes, and anecdotes, many amusing. Fantasia has some short stories and poems, including "Euclid Alone Has Looked on Beauty Bare" by Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Euclid" by Vachel Lindsay and the limerick, "There Was an Old Man Who Said, 'Do . . . ."

Gordon, B. B., editor. Songs from Unsung Worlds: Science in Poetry, Boston, Birkhauser, 1985.
Includes "Zito the Magician" by Miroslav Holub.

Gordon, Isabel S. and Sophie Sorkin, editors, The Armchair Science Reader, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1959.
Includes "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" by Walt Whitman.

Growney, JoAnne, Intersections, Kadet Press, Bloomsburg, 1993; available from the author.
Includes "A Mathematician's Nightmare," "The Prince of Algebra," "You asked me for a birthday gift suggestion . . ." and other mathematical poems.

Heaford, Philip, The Math Entertainer, Buchanan, NY, Emerson Books.
Rhymes and puzzles.

Humanistic Mathematics Network Journal.
Many issues of this journal contain poetry and articles about the links between mathematics and the arts. To join the Humanistic Mathematics Network and receive its journal, contact Alvin White, Department of Mathematics, Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA 91711.

Moritz, Robert E., editor, Memorabilia Mathematica, New York, Macmillan, 1914.
Reissued in 1993 by the MAA along with a companion volume, Out of the Mouths of Mathematicians by Rosemary Schmalz. Moritz' collection includes verse by Dante, DeMorgan, Goethe, and Wordsworth and a mnemonic by A.C. Orr for the first thirty digits of pi.

Nemerov, Howard, The Western Approaches, University of Chicago Press, 1975.
Includes "Figures of Thought," which describes the wonder felt at the discovery of the logarithmic spiral realized in diverse ways in nature , and "Two Pair," which links gambling with laws of thermodynamics and with Biblical laws.

Newman, James R., Mathematics: A Small Library of the Literature of Mathematics, presented with Commentaries and Notes by James R. Newman, Redmond, WA, Tempus, 1956, 1988.

Plotz, Helen, editor, Imagination's Other Place: Poems of Science and Mathematics, T. Y. Crowell Co., New York, 1955.
Includes "Four Quartz Crystal Clocks" by Marianne Moore, "Arithmetic" by Carl Sandburg and other poems with mathematical imagery.

Robson, E. and J. Wimp, Editors, Against Infinity: An Anthology of Contemporary Mathematical Poetry, Parker Ford, PA. Primary Press, 1979.
Includes "Algebra" by Linda Pastan, "Zito the Magician" by Miroslav Holub, and many more.

Poetry Selections for "Mathematics in Poetry"

"Arithmetic Lesson: Infinity" by Linda Pastan
Found on pages 48-49 of Against Infinity: An Anthology of Contemporary Mathematical Poetry, edited by E. Robson and J. Wimp, Parker Ford, PA. Primary Press, 1979.

"My Dance is Mathematics" by JoAnne Growney
Forthcoming (Winter 1995-96) in Mathematics Magazine.

"Geometry" by Rita Dove
Found on page 17 of Rita Dove's Selected Poems , New York, Vintage Books, 1993.

"Geometry Class" by JoAnne Growney
Forthcoming (Spring 1996) in The College Mathematics Journal.

"Figures of Thought" by Howard Nemerov
Found on page 46 of The Western Approaches by Howard Nemerov, University of Chicago Press, 1975.

"Ode to Numbers" by Pablo Neruda
Found (in Spanish and in English translation by Margaret Sayers Peden) on pages 94-99 of Selected Odes of Pablo Neruda, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1990.

"pi" by Robert Morgan
Found in Poetry, v. clxi, no. 5 (January, 1993), page 204.

"The Prince of Algebra" by JoAnne Growney
Found on pages 52-53 of Intersections: Poems by JoAnne Growney, Bloomsburg PA, Kadet Press, Bloomsburg, 1993; also on page 639 of v. 101, No. 7 (August-September, 1994) of The American Mathematical Monthly.

Landscape VI from "Six Significant Landscapes" by Wallace Stevens
Found on page 75 of The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens, New York, Vintage Books, 1990.

Section II from "Cherry Trees" by A. E. Housman
Found on page 10 of The Collected Poems of A. E. Housman, New York, Henry Holt, 1940.


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