Math Poetry

Poetry is about as ancient as mathematics in human culture. Its language can be whimsical, somber, joyful, beautiful, concise, thought-provoking, and inspirational. We invite you to think and write about mathematics in this unique form of expression. Poems can be limericks, sonnets, haiku, acrostic, square stanzas (such as the one below by JoAnne Growney in which the number of syllables per line equals the number of lines), based on the Fibonacci sequence (with the number of syllables per line based on the sequence), or other type. Imagine and express!

Below the poster image are winners of the 2020 AMS Math Poetry Contest (in Colorado) and a video of them reading their poems at the 2020 Joint Mathematics Meetings in Denver, winners of the 2019 AMS Math Poetry Contest (in Maryland), and math and poetry resources.

Math and poetry poster

 
 

2020 AMS Math Poetry Contest

In fall 2019 the AMS conducted a Math Poetry Contest contest for Colorado middle school, high school, and undergraduate students in connection with the 2020 Joint Mathematics Meetings in Denver. The winners will read their poems during Mathemati-Con, the day of free events open to the public, Saturday, January 18.

The three winning poems in the 2020 AMS Math Poetry Contest are:

Austen Mazenko, Sabrina Little, Gizem Karaali, and Chenyu LinThe three winning poets: (left to right) Austen Mazenko, Sabrina Little, one of the poetry contest judges, Gizem Karaali, and Chenyu Lin.

 

Video of Sabrina, Austen, and Chenyu reading their poems at the meeting:

 

Congratulations to all three!

 

2019 AMS Math Poetry Contest

Brooke C. Johnston, Tina Xia, Kelin Torres-Rodas, and JoAnne GrowneyThe three winning poets: Brooke C. Johnston, Tina Xia, and Kelin Torres-Rodas, with one of the poetry contest judges, JoAnne Growney. The three poems are linked to below.

 

Here's a video of Kelin, Tina, and Brooke reading their winning poems. They're introduced by JoAnne Growney.

 

The three winning poems in the 2019 AMS Math Poetry Contest are:

Congratulations to all three!

 

Resources for exploring math and poetry:

Intersections--Poetry with Mathematics blog: 

• Each issue of the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics or The Mathematical Intelligencer

• S. Buchanan, Poetry and Mathematics, J.B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, 1962.

• E. Robson & J. Wimp (eds.), Against Infinity: an Anthology of Contemporary Mathematical Poetry, Primary Press, Parker Ford, PA, 1979.

• Proceedings from the annual Bridges conference (1998-)

• J. Growney (ed.), Numbers and Faces, HMN, 2001.

• S. Glaz & J. Growney (eds.), Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 2008.

"Maths and poetry: Beauty is the link," Peter Lynch, The Irish Times, October 17, 2019.