JoAnne Growney

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Poet JoAnne Growney [1] spent most of her years in Pennsylvania but has lived in the DC Area (in Silver Spring, MD) since 2005. Her education emphasized mathematics and, in her career as a mathematics professor at Bloomsburg University, she frequently brought relevant poems into her mathematics classroom; eventually (in 2010) her collection of math-related poems led her to start a blog, “Intersections – Poetry with Mathematics.”[2]

Growney’s poetry collections include Red Has No Reason [3](Plain View Press, 2010), Angles of Light [4] (Finishing Line Press, 2009), and My Dance is Mathematics [5] (Paper Kite Press, 2006). She grew up on a farm in Indiana, Pennsylvania and farm-life, as well as mathematics, is a frequent theme for her poems. Her most celebrated, most frequently translated poem, “My Dance Is Mathematics,” honors mathematician Emmy Noether (1882-1935) – featured in 2012 in a New York Times article, “The Mighty Mathematician You’ve Never Heard Of.” [6]

In collaboration with mathematician-poet Sarah Glaz, Growney co-edited Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics (A K Peters, 2008). [7] Glaz also has edited Bridges 2013 Poetry Anthology (Tessellations Publishing, 2013)[8] in which are found two of Growney’s poems that celebrate math-women – “Girl-Talk” [9] and “With Reason: A Portrait” – this latter poem celebrating the life of mathematician-poet Sofia Kovalevskaya (1850-1891). [10]

Majoring in mathematics and taking electives in literature and creative writing, Growney earned degrees from Westminster (PA) College (BS, 1962), Temple University (MA, 1964), University of Oklahoma (PhD, 1970). Much later, in 2002, she earned an MA in Creative Writing at Hunter College. She developed poetry exhibits and taught classes for the Children’s Museum [11] in Bloomsburg, PA, and she has led poetry workshops for mental health clients in a Silver Spring, MD wellness center.

Written by JoAnne Growney October 2013


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