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“Intersections – Poetry with Mathematics” at Mathematical language can heighten the imagery of a poem; mathematical structure can deepen its effect. Feast here on an international menu of poems made rich by mathematical ingredients.

In March 2010 Silver Spring poet JoAnne Growney began the blog, “Intersections – Poetry with Mathematics” -- initiated to share poems and ideas she had collected during years as a professor who loved poetry and brought relevant poems into her mathematics classroom. However, since the blog’s inception, many interested readers have added to her collection and it could perhaps go on forever.

The blog includes, for example, an excerpt from “Algebra” by Linda Pastan; spotlighted poems include “Figures of Thought” by Howard Nemerov, “Zito the Magician” by Miroslav Holub, and “The Icosasphere” by Marianne Moore, and scores of others. There are poems “starring” mathematicians, poems expressing climate concerns, and numerical poems. There are poems illustrating various poetic structures, for example: a sestina (involving permutations of line-end-words) by Rudyard Kipling, a square riddle from Sylvia Plath, a sonnet from Willam Rowan Hamilton, pantoums (with repetition and permutation of lines) from several poets, Fibs, and various structures from the OULIPO (short for French: Ouvroir de littérature potentielle; roughly translated: "workshop of potential literature").

In general, the poems posted either include mathematical terminology in their verses or mathematical notions guide their structure. Many blog visitors browse among the more-than-five-hundred entries and explore what they stumble upon. Some others are looking for particular poets or topics and use the blog’s search box.

Written by JoAnne Growney October 2013

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