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I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as long division...Joyce Kilmer Frowns!

To celebrate the new year, why not start your classes off with a discussion of mathematics and poetry. More than two years ago, I suggested the resource Fibonacci Poetry. If you have not tried this approach with students, now is a good time to do so.

Plus, you need to check out the resource Mathematical Poetry, a blog coordinated by Kaz Maslanka (San Diego, CA). In his words, the website is an "artistic expression created by performing mathematical operations on words or images as if they were numbers. One may find this baffling because it seems we are confused about knowing the difference between the states of quality versus quantity. But it is through the fusion of this dichotomy that mathematical metaphor is spawned. Mathematics has always been used for denotation. However, our interest is to use math as a language for connotation." Interesting...but baffling!

When visiting the site, be sure to check out:

  • The "Start Here" section, which provides an overview of what to expect... terminology, polyaesthetics, verbogeometry, etc.
  • Taxonomy of structures and techniques for mathematical poetry...with examples such as "The Similar Triangles Poem," "The Long Division Poem," or "the Double Derivative Poem"
  • Access to the mathematical poetry of other poets such as Friedrich Schlegel, Scott Helmes, Pablo Kagioglu, Anand Bora, Ed Schenk, and Geof Huth
  • Many links to neat examples of what is called "VisMath"
  • Three years of content for the blog itself
A lot of creativity to explore...some you will like, some you will discard....but it will get you and your students to look at mathematics in a new context.