The most important aspect of mathematical poetry in my ‘humble’ opinion is collaborative substitution poems. Collaborative substitution poems can evolve eternally and infinitely like no other form of poetry. Even non-poets can make mathematical poems using existing mathematical poems. I get very excited whenever I think about how these poems could evolve. The mathematical poem is very special in the sense that its structure lends itself very easily to substitution of terms/variables.
Just like in the equation from physics which states that force = mass multiplied by acceleration. F = ma. (image above) Since acceleration can be defined as the change in velocity per time we can substitute delta v divided by delta t into the equation to yield F = mass multiplied by delta v divided by delta t or F= mass delta(v)/delta(t)
What this means for mathematical poetry is that all variables are capable of being substituted by another poem. This gives a poem infinite flexibility in that future poets can substitute the variables within it in ways that could turn a small poem into a giant rhizome of ideas with roots that extends itself into many directions similar in shape to the black dotted arms spreading across the tabletop of the domino game. Today we are making the first step (that I know of) in this process.
On August 13, 2007 Cherryl Floyd-Miller posted a similar triangles poem titled death. It just so happens that I created a similar triangles poem posted May 17, 2007 also titled death.
Here is another look at Cherryl’s poem “Death”
Here is another look at my poem “Death”
If I solve for the term “death” in my poem (actually it is already solved for “death” in the original posting) and replace the variable “death” from Cherryl’s poem with my poem (solved for death) then we get the following expression. I have kept the color of the words so that they can be easily seen within both contexts shown below.
I have solved the expression above for the term Life and this leaves us with the following poem.
Now that we have seen it together in the later image I present the final image
One of the things I really enjoy about this poem is the conflation of the original contexts. Cherryl’s poem had a context of corporal finality where the context of mine was more about the process of spiritual growth. In this poem both ideas can be seen.
Now the next thing that could happen is that another mathematical poet describes one of the other elements in this poem such as “pulseless” or “heresy”. Then they take their poem and substitute it for “pulseless” or “heresy” and viola we have a new collaborative poem made from three poets. And so on and so on and so on …