Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Double Derivative Poem

Double Derivative Poem

The poem above serves as an example of what I am calling a double derivative poem. In the study of mathematics a derivative is the rate of change of one thing as measured by the change in another. The double derivative poem addresses the first and second derivatives of a “phantom function”. The “mathematical function” that I am speaking of is to be experienced with ones intuition as opposed to being explicitly described as a single curve on a Cartesian coordinate system.

The idea for this poetic structure occurred to me while reflecting on the equations from physics that describe the relationship between position velocity and acceleration. Its similar triangles structure dawned on me because physics teaches the position of a moving object is to velocity as velocity is to acceleration.

In the study of physics, calculus tells us that the first derivative of position is velocity and the second derivative of position is acceleration. Furthermore, it just so happens that this ‘ratio form’ is the same structure used for a similar triangles poem. (You need to be familiar with the similar triangles poem and mathematical differentiation for this to make sense)
Shown below are visual aids to understand the derivative.

The derivative:
Animation showing that when delta x approaches zero the secant line becomes tangent. (click on the image to see the animation)

Each mathematical term “a” “b” “d” or “e”(see similar triangles poem) is a word or phrase. In the derivative poem each mathematical term is a metaphor relating to the derivative paradigm which is an expression relating the first derivative to the second derivative. (the change and the change in the change)

The first word is mapped into the source domain for the first metaphor in our paradigm serving the target metaphor of ‘position’.

The second word is mapped into the source domain for the second metaphor in our paradigm serving the target metaphor of ‘velocity’.

Caring IS “velocity”

Lastly, the third phrase is mapped into the source domain for the third metaphor in our paradigm serving the target metaphor of ‘acceleration’.
Dailey rituals of love IS “acceleration”

Here is the poem shown in the similar triangles form

Here is the poem solved for “Liking”

I find the poem more interesting if solved for the word “Caring”

Visualizing the exact mathematical function of “Caring as a function of time” would be impossible with the small amount of information given however; a single point on that function is present in the poem even if it is nebulous in form. Furthermore, other poems could be written to describe other points along the phantom curve. I find it very interesting to ponder the shape of the "phantom curve"
The challenge in making a successful derivative poem is in the ability of the poet to express the proper metaphors to fit the paradigm of first and second derivatives. That is to say that the poem expresses a change relative to an idea and then a change in the change relative to that same idea. If all of these requirements are met then one may be able to visualize a point and part of the nebulous function graphically in their mind.

Now to take this idea a little further lets think about this. As I had mentioned before; a derivative is just the rate of change of one thing as measured by the change in another. Furthermore you can have a third derivative, a fourth derivative etc. So in effect we could create a mathematical poem that has its structure as a ‘string or sequence’ of derivatives expressed as an expanded similar triangles poem. Now that sounds like an interesting challenge! Who is going to be the first to do it and send it to me?

also see this

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Jennifer Karmin And The Monocular Mistress

During the 2nd Annual Chicago Calling Arts Festival, Chicago-based artist, Jennifer Karmin will be reading Beast Poetry that she has assembled from sources outside of Chicago. One of the poems she will be reading is the similar triangles poem “The Monocular Mistress” shown above.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Death by Thierry Brunet

The mathematical poem above is a similar triangles poem titled "Death" Furthermore it was sent to me by the French Poet Thierry Brunet.

Mathpo Eclipsed By Fire

This is the only thing on my mind tonight ... This is a photo shot from space of southern California. I am between the first and second fire from the bottom of the picture. (San Diego)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Math Art Moment #8


Artists have an insouciant tendency to get lost in their imagination.
Mathematicians have an attentive tendency to map their imagination.


To see more math art delineations click here

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I stole this mathematical poetry image from a fun mathematical/life inspired blog called "Indexed" check it out ... some really fun stuff including Venn diagrams and other mathpo visuals.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mathematical Poetry

Here is another "Similar Triangles Poem" titled "Mathematical Poetry"

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Friedrich Schlegel

This page is to collect the two post which discuss German philosopher Friedrich Schlegels's mathematical poem. This poem was written around 1800 and is the first mathematical poem that I know of.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Good Path

Here is another "Similar Triangles Poem" titled "The Good Path"

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Do The Math: Lies Secrets and Algebra

I ran across a website that lead me to Wendy Lichtman. Wendy is a writer that happens to have a mathematics degree. Furthermore she has put it to use in her new book, “Do The Math: Lies Secrets and Algebra. Check it out on her website.

I snatched a ratio she had given at a lecture published at this website and turned it into a similar triangles poem.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Eddingtons Anti-Sonnet

Here is a mathematical visual poem done by the Australian visual poet pi.o. to see his explanation check it out on Geof Huth’s blog here

A Math Art moment #7

The goal of art is to go beyond language. Mathematics is a language to describe what is beyond us.

To see more math art delineations click here

Congruent Apology

One of the best aspects of the internet as well as the worst (most embarrassing) is the fact that if you make a mistake it is permanent and you cannot go back and erase it. I have discovered an error in my mathematical terminology and need to correct it. What I have been calling "congruent triangles" are not congruent triangles they are “similar triangles.” "Congruent triangles" are referring to two triangles that are the same size. Similar triangles have the same shape but different sizes. Obviously, my memory is not good as it needs to be. If conveying this error has caused any embarrassment to anyone one, I am sorry.


The good thing is that it does not affect the meaning, mechanics or the importance of this poetic form. However, I must clean up the mess and continue. What you have known to be the "Congruent Triangles Poem" is now correctly re-identified as a "Similar Triangles Poem". Furthermore, if you notice a mistake on my blog or website please challenge it. I appreciate all help.

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