Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Introduction to Apperceptual

"Apperceptual" is an extremely interesting blog about semantics and language run by Peter Turney and is well worth your time looking at it. Peter and I have differing opinions on art and culture however his topics of interest are fascinating and well worth reading. I will say that I imagine that his interests are more scientific than most poets aspire to however, we can learn a lot from him.

Please check out these links:
This one really helps validate the importance of "Proportional Poems"
This one shows how we can create "Golden" "Proportional Poems"
This one discusses criticism of my favorite cognitive scientist George Lakoff.

A math art moment #13

Art is the expression of culture.
Pure mathematics is independent of culture therefore, cultureless.

To see more delineations click here

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Here is the full image of my piece, 'Salvation'. The two houses you see in the image are bath houses just outside the temple bridge at Songgwangsa temple in Korea. These bath houses are used to bathe the ghosts of our ancestors as a requirement before they are allowed into the temple. A detail of the Proportional Poem is below.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bathing Ghosts

Here is a Proportional Poem titled "Salvation". This was inspired by my recent visit to the Korean Zen Temple Songgwangsa

The image above is a detail from the image below

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Proportional Poem Blog

I have created another blog to collect Proportional Poems made by you. Proportional Poems are probably the easiest mathematical poem to make because you don’t have to be a math person to make one. Check out this link for an understanding of Proportional Poems and check out this link for the blog.
Please contribute!

Memories by Charlotte Whatley

Here is a Proportional Poem by Charlotte Whatley

Gratitude by Jean M Kelley

Here is a proportional poem by Jean M Kelley

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rhythm of Structure

John Sims has been putting together a series of mathart events in NYC which will occur at different times throughout the year. I am looking forward to an event later this next summer for which Richard Kostelanetz, Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino, Bob Grumman, Stephane Strickland and myself will be involved. To get on Johns Mailing list - contact him @

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Here is a new proportional poem that I created titled Whispers.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Place Value Poems by Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino

Professor St. Thomasino has developed a new structure for Mathematical poetry that I will add to the taxonomy in the side bar of this blog. What he has done is mapped the decimal notation system “onto” a sentence or set of phrases to “Place value” on the phrases. Focusing attention to the syntax of the poem. Here is an example of one of his poems called “Molotov’s Sister”:

a blonde bomber,she.smokes filterless,plays upright bass & writes haiku

Notice the decimal point and the commas. The commas delineate the digit/phrases in the poem and the decimal denotes where the decimal exists in this number. In essence we have the set of phrases that would equate to the following 100 x a blonde bomber, 10 x she . 1/10 x smokes filterless, 1/100 times plays upright bass & writes haiku

I have created a visual counter-part to the poem so that you can see the dynamic range of meaning mapped to each phrase. (images above)

The first image gives you the size differences in each decimal place and the second image groups the poem in detail so that it is readable.

Clowning Around With Euler

Euler's Formula

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Craig Damrauer

I just ran across a new math poet who seems to be getting some good attention and has an interview featured here. Much of Craig Damrauer’s work seems to be inspired by his relationship to his family and his surroundings. I find a lot of his stuff to be whimsical yet there are a few that are philosophical. Most of the work is arithmetic yet there are a few orthogonal space poems which would fit under the category of algebraic pieces. (This reminds me I need to put a category in my taxonomy for arithmetic poetry)
I have some examples below of his work:

I think my favorite is the one below.

some exponents for your consumption

Here (below) is an orthogonal space poem

The next one reminds me of one of my pieces which equates value proportional to need.

400 bucks?

To see more of his work check out his site here at this link

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Disappearing Context

If you are not familiar with "Similar Triangle Poems" please read this link before going further.

One of the things that excite me the most about mathematical poetry is the fact that one can mathematically merge poems into each other. The results of these operations are extremely interesting in how the context of the common variable disappears. Or in other words the common context that both poems share … disappears. This is a feature that no other poetic form can accomplish and we are going to accomplish it in this blog entry. One can perform this feat on multiple mathematical poems however we are going to show how it is done on just two. The first thing that one needs to have ready is at least two poems that share a common “variable” or “term.” In our example (above) we have the common context of “money”. In other words both mathematical poems share a common term in the form of a word, in this case money. In the first poem we have the idea that Man is to Blood as God is to Money and simultaneously we have the idea that Man is to God as Blood is to Money.** In addition we have the second poem which states that The Victor is to “Honor in War” as Money is to “Righteous Effort” And Simultaneously it says The Victor is to Money as “Honor in War” is to “Righteous Effort”

Now let’s solve both poems for the term “Money”

The image above shows both poems ‘solved’ for money. Since both poems are now in the form of being equal to money then we now must set both poems equal to each other. By setting them equal to each other we have merged the two poems together and everything is still logically intact. The image below shows both poems set equal to each other.

Now that we have the two poems merged into one let’s look at how the meaning has been changed by the reformation. Let us solve the new poem for the term “Honor in War” and see how it reads.

Wow! This poem reads right out of a Patriots Bible yet the two poems that created it were both cynical and possibly sarcastic in relation to the Patriot's beliefs. Once the context of money was taken out we have an entirely new situation. This reminds me of how a person can be consciously holding back a lie yet, speaks dancing truths all around the lie. In this case the money is the lie.

**Also an interesting feature of Mathematical Poetry is that all the different possible syntax structures in a poem exist at the same time therefore when you read a mathematical poem, in each of their different syntax states, the temporal meaning of the poem fills up much like a glass of water when you turn on the faucet.

Meeting Karl Kempton

I met the visual poet Karl Kempton face to face for the first time last weekend (he is on the right). My wife and I experienced a wonderful dinner/picnic with Karl and his wife on the shore of Pismo beach. He gave me a stack of his books and publications to read. It was a grand meeting however; it went by way too fast. Here is a shot (above) of Karl and I located in the beautiful garden designed by Ruth Kempton.
Here is a link to one of my favorite essays of his.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A man's intelligence

I once said that a man’s intelligence flows inversely proportional to the levels of alchol and testosterone in his system.

Just recently some scientific validation came in the form of this link

The 2005 poem below was inspired by the relationship expressed above.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Problems Encountered With Mathematical Poetry

Here is a perfect example of why mathematical poetry will have problems at least in the near future. In the blog entry copied bellow (and at this link) the author is complaining that the originator for a set of equations published in the brochure for the Biennale of Sydney is numerically illiterate. Curiously enough I think they should have said mathematically illiterate for numbers are not involved in these examples. That said, I am not sure that it is true that the originator was mathematically illiterate as well. The author claims that the expression, “Art = tyranny” is a false statement yet, historically there has been countless examples of art that has been inspired by or executed to express tyranny. A good example would be the artistic turmoil created around 1911 in Zurich Switzerland, for the entire Dada movement’s intention was to be tyrannical (Anti-Art)… as well as the copy cats that came after. Obviously the problem brought to question in this brochure is how one reads an equation. Is the equation to be read as poetry or science? Too many people think that an equation is automatically scientific in its expression. If this myopic attitude is left to continue, mathematics will be in denotative chains forever. When one reads poetry one searches for the proper context to give it meaning in relation to their life. One looks at the many facets of a poem to see what it is pointing to. “Art = tyranny” is a perfect expression for Dada, Punk or any other nihilist form or art.
Now to give our author the benefit of the doubt we could agree with him/her if the originator’s intention was scientific however, I can hardly see scientific intent in this expression even if it were meant to be.

It Don't Add Up
The Biennale of Sydney has put out an advance brochure that contains the two equations:

art + beauty + empathy = power

power – beauty – empathy = tyranny

Anyone with a primary school understanding of mathematics knows that if you solve these equations for the term ‘art’ you will discover that the claim being made is that

art = tyranny

If the Biennale of Sydney wants to communicate its ideas in the form of equations, perhaps it should run them by someone with a primary school level of numerical literacy before publishing them. Didn’t anyone in the accounts section twig that the Biennale of Sydney is spreading the message throughout the world that art equals tyranny???

Here is the mathematical solution:

art + beauty + empathy = power

art + empathy = power – beauty

art = power – beauty – empathy

given already that power – beauty – empathy = tyranny

then it follows

art = tyranny

Future Freedom

Here is an orthogonal space poem inspired by the mid east situation.

Paradigm Poems From Anand Bora

He are some good examples of the paradigm poem from Anand Bora.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bob Grumman

This page is to collect important links to the work of Bob Grumman

Mathemaku No 6a

Long division example

Mathemaku 6-12

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Spirituality - At The California Art Institute in San Diego

I am a little late since the show is coming down Monday July 27th however, I would like to mention its existence for Karl Kempton and I were co-curators for it. Some of the work was very good and I felt it was appropriate to the challenge however; other works in the show reminded me of visual Karaoke. Spirituality is a pretty challenging theme if you wish to avoid the clichés of religious dogma. I tried to challenge the group by exposing them to a couple of essays:
The Dangers of Spiritual Art By Me
Carrying poetry into the 21st century
by Karl Kempton

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Axiom of Ghandi

Here is a "Similar Triangle Poem" titled The Axiom of Ghandi

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Mathematics and love coupled in professor's book of poetry

Sarah Glaz - Photo by Jessica Tommaselli

I am a little late getting this out however; there is a nice interview of Sarah Glaz who co-edited with JoAnne Growney “Strange Attractors” a collection of mathematical love poems inside the April issue of “Advance”, which is a newsletter at the University of Connecticut. Most of the work in the book is traditional poetry however; Bob Grumman and I had works in the book that are of the “equational” genre. below is the interview however check it out at the source with this link.

Mathematics and love coupled in professor's book of poetry
by Sherry Fisher- April 13, 2009

Mathematics and poetry are two of Sarah Glaz’s passions. They are melded together in her new book, Strange Attractors, Poems of Love and Mathematics.
The book, published by A K Peters Ltd., is an anthology of about 150 poems that are strongly connected to mathematics in form, content, or imagery, says Glaz, a professor of mathematics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The collection includes poetry from all around the world, some in translation, and spans about 3,000 years. In addition to works by noted poets and scientists, the book also contains several by Glaz.
Love is the common theme of the poems in Strange Attractors. The first chapter focuses on romantic love between two people, while the poems in the second chapter are about love of family, nature, and life, and spiritual love. The last chapter centers on love for mathematics and mathematicians.
The book is co-edited by mathematician JoAnne Growney.
Glaz, whose mother read poetry to her as a child, says she started enjoying poetry before she even knew how to count.
“I’ve been fascinated with it all my life,” she says. “I’ve been collecting poems with mathematical connections for as long as I can remember.”
Glaz and Growney came to write the book after several years of e-mail correspondence. Their relationship began when Glaz found a chapbook – a pocket-sized booklet – of poetry with a mathematical theme that Growney had published.
“I contacted her and we corresponded via e-mail for several years before deciding to write the book together,” Glaz says. “We met for the first time this January at a mathematics conference, where we celebrated the book’s publication.”
Glaz says finding poetry for the book was easy: “Both of us had large collections of poems with links to mathematics. Choosing the poems was the bigger problem.”
Many poets use mathematical language to express love, Glaz says. “I think that any strong emotion makes you feel you don’t have enough words to express it. Searching for new ways of expression leads some poets to the language of mathematics.”
In a poem from “Five Poems about Zero,” Eryk Salvaggio writes about losing love:

Zero is a number
of yearning.
In your absence,
I have nothing.
But it’s mine.

“Sacrifice and Bliss,” a poem by Kaz Maslanka, is in the form of a mathematical equation. “The equation-poem involves the mathematical notion of a limit,” Glaz explains.

“It can be ‘translated’ into words by saying that the relation between ego and love in a relationship is inversely proportional. As egos approach zero, love grows to infinity.”
Glaz says the book also contains a few “humorous, geeky” poems.
Katharine O’Brien writes in her poem “Valentine”:

You disintegrate my differential,
you dislocate my focus.
My pulse goes up like an
whenever you cross my locus.

Glaz, who wrote a poem called “Calculus,” says her poem is about the passionate, early history of calculus.
“It’s something I tell my students when I teach them calculus – the story of Newton versus Leibniz,” she says.
Mathematics is much like art, Glaz says: “I love to teach and I love doing research in mathematics. I think that proving a theorem and writing a poem come from the same place. You need to create, to discover, to look for a truth, to look for a pattern, and then enjoy it when it appears, and, of course, share it with students.”
Glaz is author and editor of several books and many articles in an area of mathematics called commutative algebra.
“Mathematics publications are for the initiated,” she says.
“They are read by the few hundred people around the world who work in the same research area.”
Strange Attractors, on the other hand, is an interdisciplinary work touching on mathematics, poetry, and history. In addition to the collection of poems, it includes bibliographical information for further exploration of the links between mathematics and poetry, and biographical information on the contributors and on the mathematicians appearing in the poems.
“It was exhilarating to work on such a project,” Glaz says.
“I hope the book brings poetry to mathematicians and some love of mathematics to poets. I hope people from many disciplines enjoy it.”
For more information about the book, and a sample of poems, Glaz invites you to visit her web page.
April is National Poetry Month and Mathematics Awareness Month.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Victor

Here is a new "proportional poem" or "Similar Triangles Poem" titled "The Victor". The interesting thing to think about is how this poem can be combined with the poem "Man" Tell me what do you think?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Maslanka and Kempton at Escondido Municipal Gallery

My piece “The Lotto” and Karl Kempton’s piece “My Big Mouth” has been accepted into the “Synthesis show” and will be held from June 11 to July 3, 2009 at Escondido California Municipal Gallery
Saturday June 13th 5:30 to 8:00pm
262 East Grand Ave. Escondido California

Friday, May 29, 2009

Bridges 2009 Mathart show in Banff, Alberta

Here is a link showing all the great math art that will be part of this year’s Bridges Conference, “Mathematical connections in Art, Music and Science” The beautiful image I chose for this blog entry is Anita Chowdry’s “Illuminated Julia Dragon”.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Links Between Mental Illness And Creativity

Research is also showing that traits associated with different mental illnesses have different effects on creativity. The creativity needed to develop the theory of relativity, is, for example, very different from that required for producing surreal paintings, or poetry.

Research is now homing in on whether the psychosis that is linked to different types of creativity comes through schizophrenia and schizotypy traits, through manic-depressive or cyclothymic traits, or traits associated with the autism and Asperger's disorders. A study at the University of Newcastle found significant differences between artistically creative people and mathematicians. While the artists showed schizotypy traits, mathematicians did not, and that fits in with the idea that mathematics and engineering, which require attention to detail, are closer to the autistic traits than to psychosis.

The two paragraphs above were taken from this most interesting article which helps validate my feelings on the differences between the aesthetics of mathematics and art.

Here is the link to the original source for the paragraphs above.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Love and Life by Anand Bora

Here is a new triple integral circular Mathpoem by Anand Bora

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mahipal Virdy - A Poetic Force of Nature

I would like to thank Mahipal Virdy for sharing his very interesting poetic discourse with us. You can find the original at his blog here

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Cleanliness by Anand Bora

The Bharat mathematical poet Anand Bora sent me a poem to share with you. The Poem presents a world view of cleanliness in thought and action.

Anand Bora

The purpose of this page is to collect the mathematical poems of Anand Bora


Love and Life

Paradigm Poems

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Venerate Your Experience – Not This

Today’s Blog entry is a bit different due to most of my polyaesthetic pieces are printed at 24” X 36” maximum size and this one is 108” X 108”. Generally I print a lambda Duratran to be displayed in an easily manageable Light-box however today’s piece one will require one huge box.
The first image shows the piece in full. There is nothing wrong with your monitor the piece is totally white light with the exception of a piece of imperceptible text that if properly displayed would be 1 inch high and 2.5 inches long. The second image visibly shows the text which lies at the center of the field.
“Venerate Your Experience – Not This” is the title of this poem. The poem is a similar triangles poem that has been transposed into a different identity … Why don’t you see if you can put it back into the similar triangles poem form as well transposing it into other synonymous syntactical forms.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Basho (Specific Condition)

After some more (noisy mind) thoughts about not thinking; I feel the poem from the last blog entry should be considered as a relationship stated in a general condition (without direct value or value in a positive or negative sense) furthermore, I think the poem would be easier read in the specific condition. So I have a new version in the specific condition. (see above)

The mathematical structure remains the same as the last poem and can be seen on the last blog entry.

The Poem is derived as such:

Starting with the ideas that the Splash is to the Waveless Old Pond as Frog is to No Self and as Noisey mind is to clear Mind. Which is set up mathematically as:

Splash/Waveless Old Pond = Frog/No Self = Noisy Mind/Clear Mind

and arbitrarily choosing to use flavor five from the expanded similar triangles poem examples we can see that the next line can be set up as g/h = a-d/b-e

Which translates as:
Splash / Waveless Old Pond = (Frog - Noisy Mind)/( No Self- Clear Mind)

The variables are as such:

Frog =a

No Self =b

Noisy Mind=d

Clear Mind= e


Waveless Old Pond=h

An aesthetic decision to solve for a and using the third example from flavor five yields: a= g(b-e)/h + d

Frog = (Splash(No Self – Clear Mind)/ Waveless Old Pond) + Noisy Mind

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Everyone seems to have had their way with poor Basho’s poem. I am not going to be pretentious enough to call this ‘haiku’ however, this expanded similar triangles poem was inspired by the wisdom that I have gleaned from my experience with Basho's poem.

The Poem is derived as such:

Starting with the ideas that the Frog is to The Self as Noise is to The Mind and as Splash is to the Old Pond Which can be set up mathematically as:

Frog/The Self = Noise/The Mind = Splash/Old Pond

and choosing (aesthetic decision) to use flavor five from the expanded similar triangles poem examples we can see that the next line is set up as g/h = a-d/b-e


Splash / The Old Pond = (Frog - Noise)/( Self- The Mind)

The variables are as such:

Frog =a

The Self =b


The Mind= e


The Old Pond=h

Furthermore, to solve for a or choosing to use the third example from flavor five yields: a= g(b-e)/h + d

Frog = (Splash(The Self – The Mind)/ The Old Pond) + Noise

After some more (noisy mind) thoughts about not thinking; I feel that I should mention that the poem above is stated in a general condition furthermore, I think the poem may be seen easier in the specific condition. So I have a new version in the specific condition. Please see the next blog entry for the specific condition.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Man (for Timo Gilbert)

Here is a Similar Triangles Poem titled "Man"- inspired by my conversations with Timo Gilbert.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mock Paper Scissors

Quote from Mock Paper Scissors:
(Failed song-and-dance man turned cowboy icon, John Wayne X Beverly Hillbilly Jethro Bodine) Divided by top banana Bonzo and his presidential second billing, Ronald Reagan = Chimpy McStagger.
Quote from Mock Paper Scissors:
(Crazed psycho founder of the murderous Manson Clan, Charles Manson) + (Crazed founder of the follow-the-meteor Heaven’s Gate Death Cult, Marshall Applewhite) X (the Jonestown Cult’s favorite beverage) = Crazed founder of the 700 Club, and one-time GOP Presidential Candidate, Pat Robertson

The Australian Math poet Pioh has turned us on to some more wonderful stuff. Thank you Pioh!!

These are a perfect example of Math poetry in politics. Click here for the entire site – there are many more of these so please check it out. If you sit on the left you will find them extremely funny. If you sit on the right you may be disgusted. I am politically moderate however I am left of center so the two posted here are my favorites.


Visit the National Gallery of Writing