Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Sarah Glaz's Definition



I asked the mathematician and co-editor of "Strange Attractors Poems of Love and Mathematics", Sarah Glaz for her definition of mathematical poetry and here is what she had to say:

Mathematical poetry is an umbrella term for poetry with a strong link to mathematics in either imagery, content, or structure. The mathematics involved in mathematical poetry does not have to be mathematically significant. Some poems I would call mathematical involve just arithmetic, or counting. How significant are those in the scheme the entire body of mathematical knowledge? Certain mathematical components do not make a poem mathematical, and this is expressed through the words "strong link to mathematics." For example, all formal poetry has a built in mathematical structure, but we would not call every sonnet, for example, a mathematical poem just because it has 14 lines. If the link to mathematics is in the poem's structure, there has to be something non standard, or unusual, about the use of mathematics in the poem's structure to make the poem a mathematical poem. I left, on purpose, the term "poetry" undefined because I want to include in this definition poems that have only mathematical symbols. Although my preference is for poetry that includes words, I would like the term mathematical poetry to embrace all poetic mathematical forms, even those that come to us from the depth of mathematical silence in symbol form.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear kaz
i hate all this competition (witness the "cross-swords"!)in search of a "definition" --- competing for a definition isn't an "arguement" from where i come from nor is an "arguement" some kind of competition, as the Darwinists amongst you might suggest if you looke at their blogings. -- I find the search futile, and divisive --- if i have to participate then let "Mathematical poetry be "of" poetry & "of" mathematics" creating neither one OR the other BUT a 3rdness of sorts.
love + anarchy
TT.O.

Kaz Maslanka said...

Chill dude … the swords are not real … no one is getting bent (except possibly you) – Hey, you should have seen us all in NYC last month we were all like family – we were all holding hands and singing kumbayah - Just ask Bob, Gregory and JoAnne.
Futile it is not – divisive maybe for some, but that is what makes it interesting. I see the anarchy but where is the love?

Anonymous said...

Dear kaz
I'm sure that if I were in nyc
I'd also be holding hands and singing with eyes raised and halleluiahs
The love is in the participation
If I didn't love the dialogue and the subject you wouldn't see me for dust
The divisiveness isn't what makes it interesting
It’s the argument --- perhaps discourse would be a better d-word
I say I don't like this clash of Darwinian might, cos I think it clouds clear thinking.
It’s the gaps between the "positions" that interest me
And I'm afraid that's precicely what is going amiss
and so long as everyone's holding on to their little bit of hood: no good no good no good!
When I get the time I "will" write something up
Only problem being, it would be very long on the show and tell
And I seriously don't think the blog is the right forum for it
Anyways, I'll keep the anarchy coming
And please assume the love
Even if you can't see it
Hope this finds yooz well
Love + anarchy
TT.O.

k4ntico said...

Hello... What's the relationship of color and computer graphics colors in particular, to mathematical poetry (by way of attention to human sensitivity) ?
The choice and combination of background and foreground colors, used to display Susan Glaz's definition, I find painful to my reader's eyes and ugly to the point of making it difficult for me to take this blog seriously.
--
(10^3+1)/(10+1)=(10-3)(10+3)

k4ntico said...

Oops. I meant Sarah Glaz, not Susan.

Kaz Maslanka said...

Dear K4ntico,
There is no direct relationship of color and computer graphics to mathematical poetry. The color choices were made by the web designer. (me) If you highlight the text it may be easer to read. Sorry for your discomfort. I will consider a different color in the future.
Kaz

k4ntico said...

Dear Kaz,

As much as I am tempted to dispute in abstracto your assertion on color (maybe some other time), I'll rather take pretext from your gentle reaction to enquire on the style of the sig I left above (as a manner of greeting) :).

Is this exercize already in your catalog of mathematical poetry ? Namely, to display numerical coincidences as eg true exceptions to false rules; this by using like formulae that mimick with integers the dance of special algebraic identities with repeated variables ? I spent a few months collecting such formulae, nearly twenty years ago; the above is the simplest that's poetic enough to count; although yet simpler ones can serve in larger compositions, like 2^4 = 4^2 or 5+2=2^5-5^2.

What I liked in particular in these formulae, was the implied criticism of the (computational) greed that's characteristically ascribed to "mathematics" by eg newbs. Newbs - in the sense that more involved math, typically involves dealing with exceptions that theorem conditions need to rule out, something counterintuitive to computational greed, just like these formulae- That therefore can claim educative value, a school of sensitivity.

Cheers, k4

Kaz Maslanka said...

Hi K4 I realize that I have delineated a section called ‘number poetry’ yet I am not sure that I believe number poetry is poetic. There are others who believe it is, yet, no one has given me a list of the elements of poetry that are contained in this form. For example; I see what you are calling poetic yet I am not seeing the poetic elements of this statement. Maybe you call illuminate us on the poetic elements of this expression?

k4ntico said...

Hi Kaz,

Well, to be honest, I don't really feel I understand your question - you seem to work with clear intentions for "poetry" and "poetic" that I don't quite catch or share.

My spontaneous tendency would be to ask for a re-phrasing that would eliminate these eg "variables". This would in turn allow me to decide whether I can or not re-formulate/complete my last paragraph of explanations to fit your terms.

In the meantime, I recalled some other (styles of) formula I used as sigs a dozen years ago, that could serve as distinct probes of your sense of "mathematical poetry" in extension. From the relatively simple :

"Hope achieves the square root of the impossible"

To the quite complex :



8/45 : What does F(Syracuse) catch, if F(Eurêka) is the = in E=mc^2 ?

-- Cosmetic, cosmic, comic, cmc, mc^2, E=Albert !



Cheers, k4

k4ntico said...

Hello Kaz,

I re-read your section on "number poetry", and what I find to say :

1) Indeed, it is furthest from "lexical" poetry - although that distance will depend on the degree to which the measuring person is herself eg "lexically-minded".

2) For a formula like
(10^3+1)/(10+1)=(10-3)(10+3)
I'd borrow both "beauty" and "paradox" from your "number poetry" section, but I'd rather speak of "humour" -subtly- targetting elementary mathematical reflexes (eg in a paradoxical way).

3) Of particular note in the context of debating "lexicality", is the way the formula promotes object-like integers to play the part of repeated noun-like variables in a dance mimicking that of elementary special algebraic identities like
(a+b)(a-b)=a^2-b^2

Cheers, k4

k4ntico said...

Hello... yet another couple of formula used over the years, that I feel belong to the same vein of mathematics-minded humour... both date back to the beginning of last decade when Bush jr ruled.

666 ?? -- 666 ~ 0.666 ~ 2/3 ~ 1-(1/3)
~ tertium non datur
~ the excluded middle
~ "either you are with us, or you are against us"

The second one is "computational" rather than mathematical. I presented it back in 2001 - 2002, under the heading "python passes the Türing test with a one-liner" (by displaying loyalty to the US leader like a real american).

filter(lambda W : W not in 'ILLITERATE','BULLSHIT')

This was at the time, and still is, a valid expression in the Python programming language, and it evaluates to the string 'BUSH'

Cheers, k4

Kaz Maslanka said...

Hi K4,
If you email me kazmandu at aol dot com I would be happy to explain why I would not consider your examples as poetry.
Thanks,
Kaz

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