Friday, June 29, 2007

The Expanded Similar Triangles Poem

The similar triangles method for constructing mathematical poems easily enables us to manipulate a logical structure for metaphoric expression. What this pedagogical blog entry is trying to accomplish is the introduction and showing of the expanded version of the similar triangles poem. This poetic structure is logically more complex however, still easy to manipulate.

Before you read further, please be familiar with the similar triangles poem. You may read about it here.

The 'regular' similar triangles poem only utilizes two similar triangles and is defined as an expression of two ratios. The expanded similar triangles poem utilizes ‘n’ number of ratios and is able to create very large (infinite) complex mathematical poems and still have a logical structure to act as a source domain for our metaphoric expression.

I am going to create an expanded similar triangle poem made of three similar triangles to serve as our example.
The following image shows three similar triangles with three different sets of relationships:‘a is to b’ as ‘c is to d’ and ‘e is to f’

The trick in the construction of the poem is to add or subtract the numerators of two of the relationships and also add or subtract the two corresponding denominators of the same two relationships. The next image shows us how we construct our three ratios and associated them differently with subtraction and addition to form six flavors. There are actually 12 flavors possible however; I wish to focus on these six, which I consider the best ones to give us a good understanding of what is occurring in this method.

Each flavor yields a group of six equations after the flavor is solved for each variable. The next six images show the six syntactical arrangements for each flavor. There are at least seventy-two different syntactical arrangements however; I wish to focus on what I feel to be the thirty-six most important ones. The next six images show each of the six groups created by each flavor.






Lets now create a poem using the following text.

a = Love Lies
b = The Lonely
d = Sugar
e = The Starving
g = Sexual Conquests
h = The Insecure

The structure follows as thus: ‘Love Lies’ is to ‘The Lonely’ as ‘Sugar’ is to ‘The Starving’ as ‘Sexual Conquests’ are to ‘The Insecure’

We then substitute the variables with the poetic phrases to yield thirty-six poems in six groups relating back to the flavors shown above.

I find it interesting to savor each syntactical permutation to get a ‘feel’ for each poetic expression.







Many of the links below are examples of the expanded similar triangles poem.

Love And Ego

Today, I would like to express my gratitude to JoAnne Growney and Sarah Glaz for accepting one of my works (above) into their collection of mathematical love poems that they are editing for their upcoming book.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Another From Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino

The NYC philosopher/poet Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino would like to see a math poem of his cartoon shown above. The result is a similar triangles poem shown below.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Two Emblem Poems From Thierry Brunet

I just received two images from Thierry Brunet and would like to discuss them. Both of these images I would consider emblem poems with a mathematical emphasis. Thierry has made some interesting connections in these poems. The first one I wish to point out is in his piece titled "HeXaedron". A Hexahedron is commonly known as a cube as well as being a regular polyhedral. Thierry asks “how many platonic solids do we need to dream TOMORROW? The answer depends on many things but my first thought is the question of what dimensions are we limited to? There are 5 platonic solids in the third dimension 6 in the fourth dimension and 3 in every dimension above the fifth. So if we include all dimensions we have an infinite choice. However, he is pointing at time by mentioning the PRESENT as well as TOMORROW so this also makes me entertain the idea of relativity.

Another thing I find interesting is the statement “Don’t forget the empirical BEAUTY of experience. Thierry now connects by capital letters time with beauty however, more important to me is the idea of an aesthetic of beauty tied directly to logic through an empirical process. Some artists would argue that beauty cannot be expressed with a logical statement. I feel they should be nauseous from eating only the icing and none of the cake.

The second piece is titled “mouTH THeory” I like this piece as well because I find my reality can be seen in terms of topology and beliefs are the forces that distort that topology. And here we have a lady whose scream swallows it.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Two Mathematical Poems For Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino

“Profundity” is the title of the first mathematical poem and the second “Logoclasody”.

The drawing above is by Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino

If discourse is a river then what is a lake?
Is not the Philosopher a dam?


The two mathpoems above are similar triangles poems
Also related is the Avrin proposition

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Account Of Oscar

The following is a mathematical adaptation and edition of an Oscar Wilde quote.

The later poem is in the form of an orthogonal space poem

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fall Well

I forgot to post this two weeks ago.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Duchampian Identities?

The following slides came to me anonymously however; I would have loved to credit the author if given the chance. The original intent of these slides was humor but on a deeper level this cerebral dance reminds me of the artistic equivalent of Duchamp’s found objects. Here our author has found bits and pieces of historically significant mathematical identities whose purpose are totally unrelated to the context of this wonderful buffoonery. He/she has logically pieced them together to take your mind on a trip through a kaleidoscopic mathematical collage logically woven together to end full circle. I love it … so enjoy! And thanks to whoever created it.

The New Cold War

For Ron Silliman

Monday, May 28, 2007

Khayyam's Demon

Tenth century Persian Poet/Mathematician Omar Khayyam’s triangle

Also discovered by the Chinese Mathematician Zhu Shijie

Here is my mathematical poem dedicated to Khayyam

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Schopenhauer’s Wax

Here is another Similar Triangles poem titled "Schopenhauer’s Wax"

Also related to this structure is the Avrin proposal

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A Math Art Moment #4

Science reveals the body of GGod* and Art reveals GGod's mind -- or is it the converse?
*See Comment

To see more math art delineations click here

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Here is another similar triangles poem Titled “Death”
Also related to this poem is the Avrin Proposal

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Rod Poole 1962-2007

Rod Poole 1962-2007

Occasionally things are important enough for me to stray from mathematical poetry furthermore, this is one of those times. The microtonal composer David Beardsley emailed me today to alert me to Rod Poole’s senseless death. I am shocked by this tragedy. I love microtonal music in general and Rod’s music in particular. I will certainly miss his work. I am not going to write anything because I can not say anymore than what David said at his website. Here is the link

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Math Art Moment #3

Math illuminates the supportive skeletal structure of thought whereas Art illuminates the metaphoric wind, which blows through that structure.
To see more math art delineations click here

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Ed Schenk's World

There are about three people that are almost regular contributors to this blog and Marko Niemi is one of them. Marko has continued to keep me on my toes and has graciously sent me a link to a mathematical poem found on

I would like to dedicate this blog entry to Ed Schenk’s poem that he posted on and I have reposted above.

First of all I would like to say I like Ed’s Pythagorean Theorem Poem with the idea of world being the hypotenuse of a triangle with the adjacent and opposite legs being perception and reality. Ed’s intent is such that he is asking whether the world is equal to these things. You notice that he has ‘???’ in the field of view. My guess is that Ed wanted to avoid the trap that too many people get hung up on concerning mathematical poetry. It seems that many people think that we are trying to create axioms or scientific statements. The latter idea I believe is due to the provenance of mathematics having much momentum since it is the language of science. However, I look at math poetry with a lack of scientific eyes. There could be an entire debate on whether Ed needed to put those question marks on his piece and I could argue both sides. The point I want to make is that mathematical poetry is not science.

I believe one good reason to leave the question marks on his poem are to insure that we avoid a philosophical debate and focus on the beauty of the language while entertaining the ideas presented. When it comes to philosophy and mathematical poetry I feel it is very difficult to be good at both philosophy and art. I feel mathematical poetry is less distractive when inspired by established philosophy and illuminated with a new and expanded life. Although I am sure that I have crossed the boundaries on occasion.

I also wanted to mention a technical delineation, that by putting the question marks underneath the poem it becomes a mathematical visual poem for to become a pure mathematical poem the question marks would be located above the equal sign as shown in the Avrin proposition posted April 22, 2007

I love the form of Ed’s poem however; it is hard for me not to like a Pythagorean Theorem poem. I love everything about the Pythagorean Theorem for it is always a great one to ponder just because it has such a magical quality expressed in such simplicity. ---- Although, I wouldn’t advise it, one could spend their whole life making poems in this form alone.

Of course I will have to mention as soon as I see a mathematical poem in the form of the Pythagorean Theorem, like Ed’s, then my first thought is to take it into analytic geometry and map it on the Cartesian coordinate system.This in effect is taking the Pythagorean Theorem and spinning it around a single point to create the equation of a circle.

So what would Ed’s piece look like expressed on the Cartesian coordinate system? Well, let’s look at it. This is Ed's poem spun around a point with verbogeometric axes of perception and reality.
Another thing that always occurs to me when I look at the Pythagorean Theorem is to ask how many dimensions I need to express what I want. Ed has chosen two for his poem and this is good however, we have the option to pick as many as we want. Since the idea of ‘world’ could bring about a visualization of the earth we could choose three dimensions and use the equation of a sphere. (This is the equation of a circle spun around a line)

The image below is an example where I have added an extra dimension to Ed’s equation to come up with a spherical poem. I decided to use belief as a dimension because it was the first thing that popped into my head. For this paradigm, it is not important so much as to what I am saying for I am really just trying to serve an example of how to add an extra dimension to the equation for a circle to render the equation for a sphere. Thus creating a spherical poem or in other words the Pythagorean Theorem in three dimensions and visualized in the Cartesian coordinate system.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Grumman's Christmas Poem 2007

Grumman's Christmas Poem

I would like to bring to your attention a poem I saw on Bob Grumman’s blog a few months ago. Bob basically has been doing most if not all of his recent mathematical poems in the form of long division. He rarely constructs a pure mathematical poem as almost all that I have seen are mathematical visual poems. The poem below is one such poem. Bob has been described by his friend Geof Huth as a curmudgeon and I have to admit that when I read his non-mathematical poems, his blog or his editorial writings I never find the boy child-like quality that he so beautifully expresses in some of his mathematical poems. Furthermore this poem has that particular boyish quality that can touch any man who allows it to happen. I feel it is one of Bob’s best. Here is a link where you can read Bob’s Blog entry where he talks about this poem.

Monday, May 07, 2007

A Mathematical Love Poem By H. K. Norla

I would like to give recognition to a wonderful mathematical love poem. I found the poem the other day on an abandoned blog by a young man named H K Norla. I tried to contact him but am not able to find an email address for him. His poem titled “Of X’s and Y’s” can be found on his blog here as well as my repost below.

I found his wonderful poem to be a great example of mathematical poetry with a new twist that I haven’t seen before. In between the pure math symbols he has made verbal statements that relate and segue to the adjacent equations. JoAnne Growney and Sarah Glaz are edition a book on mathematical love poems and I wish Mr. Norla was around to submit this piece to the book. (It may be too late anyway however, this is a wonderful poem)

The following is my visualization of Mr. Norla’s poem

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Numerical Notation Bibliography

Here is a great source of information in general and a source for “Numerical Notation Bibliography” in particular. This is a link to a bibliography of 1047 academic publications about numerals, numeral systems, numerical notation and numeration. Compiled by Stephen Chrisomalis -- Here is a link to Stephen’s book page.

Thanks to Karl Kempton for pointing this out to us.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Platonist Dilemma

I don’t see ‘Nature’ as mathematical
I see ‘Nature’ forcing us to be mathematical

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Quantify Not And Ye Shall Not Be Quantified!

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Math Art Moment #2

Mathematicians generally agree on what is mathematically correct. Artists generally have no idea what is artistically correct.

To see more math art delineations click here

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Avrin Proposition

The Avrin Proposition
Please familiarize yourself with the similar triangles poems to help with the following.

The physicist William Avrin has restructured the similar triangles poem to form a new proposition to ponder. He uses a edited example of the similar triangles poem titled “The Lottery” that was posted Friday March 9, 2007 (below)

From the poem above to the examples below.

Here we have the "The Avrin Proposition" shown in the simile version

Here we have the "The Avrin Proposition" shown in the metaphor version

The idea of us solving the question, whether the statements equal 1 or any number for that matter, would require some rigorous control of the contexts in question and furthermore, they (the contexts) would need to be limited greatly to have any meaningful value. I personally am not that interested in finding the perfect number that is entirely too scientific for me. However, I wish to say that I believe mathematical poetry is more about the ‘aesthetic feeling’ of the mathematical relationships within the equation as opposed to the quest to solve it for hard numbers. However there is a very interesting twist to this idea of number in mathematical poetry.

Here in the Avrin proposition we are bouncing our understanding of the words and our feeling of the relationships against the resulting number and thus forming a comparison for metaphoric conflation. In another words the source domain of the metaphor is the statements “playing the lottery” divided by “ogling pornography” as well the statements “financial fantasy” divided by “sexual fantasy” and our target domain is the number “1”. Here we have a very good example of an aesthetic feeling involved in metaphor that conflates from number and words.

Thank you Bill Avrin for pointing this out!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Similar Triangles Poems

Similar Triangles Poems / Proportional Poems

I would like to map out the structure and show examples of what I call "Similar Triangles Poems"or "Proportional Poems". Let me use the example of Similar Triangles to help visualize the proportional relationship in this mathematical structure.

Let us first look at two similar triangles with sides labeled ‘a’ ‘b’ ‘c’ and the second with sides labeled ‘d’ ‘e’ and ‘f’ Notice the laws of geometry state that a/b is equal to d/e as shown below. I am going to call this latter equation "The Similar Triangles Relationship".

Also let us note that we can solve for any or all of the variables. This will give us four synonymous variations of the similar triangles relationship in terms of one variable – examples shown in the next slide:

Now let us look at the logical structure of the following comparison: Apples are to apple butter as peanuts are to peanut butter. Furthermore, let us also look at how we can map the latter statement into the similar triangles relationship.
The following slide shows us a good example of how metaphor can be applied to the relationship of similar triangles.

Now let us substitute the terms of our logical comparison into the all of the similar variations to create four similar triangles poems.

We now have four poems that are logically equivalent but syntactically different. Each poem says the same thing only with a different flavor much like playing a piece of music in four different keys.

The pedagogical example above uses rather mundane subject matter. To see more poetic examples, please click on the lablel for "Similar Triangles Poems" (below)

Frank Sauce

This blog entry is a response to some comments made at my blog entry displaying the similar triangles poem titled “The Lotto”

I appreciate you stopping by and I enjoy engaging your comments in some discussion even though you didn’t really leave much behind. I took the liberty to stop by your blog to try to understand your point of view in order to decipher your comments. I am going to assume from your blog entry, concurrent with your comments on my blog, that you are frustrated with the attention given to Ron Silliman’s idea of torque in poetry as well as being annoyed with my blog posting of a way to look at 'torque in poetry'. (Please notice I said 'a' way not 'the' way) Furthermore it seems that Ron's blog brought you to mine.

Your first comment was, “mathematics is objective”

I now ask you to notice the analytic geometrical equation for a circle “x squared plus y squared equals the radius squared.”

This is a mathematical description of a circle which is pure, and clear furthermore, it is as accurate as the human mind can fathom. There is no object in the universe that exists that matches this equation. There are plenty that very roughly approximate it, but none that match it. Even if you are not familiar with the analytic geometric equation above, you probably are aware that the ratio of a circle’s diameter to its circumference is equal to the irrational number pi. I would also guess you are aware that pi is not an object. Mathematics is a language not an object. You can not find pure math in nature any more than you can find the word ‘tree’. The tree is the object not the word. Pure mathematics is not objective.

I think where you and many others may be having trouble is that you have never seen applied mathematics used for connotation. Therefore it does not exist. I ask you to slow down for a moment and ask why not? I find this argument to be the same as someone who believes that a child should always stay inside the lines while coloring in a coloring book. Thinking that a mathematical equation must be used only for denotation is a paradigm that mathematical poets want to shatter. The equation is merely a logical structure that can be used for anything including metaphor.

After reading your blog entry I think I see another problem that you may have. It seems that when you see mathematics you automatically think “science”, “definitions”, and “laws”. I think it is safe to say that ‘mathematical poets’ have no more use for these terms than traditional language poets. (No less use as well) My work in particular may express something within a logical framework and it may even be philosophical however; it is not and was never intended to be science. I will say it again, “mathematics is merely a language.”

Your next comment was, “this poem is subjective”

Yes however, as I pointed out Pure math is subjective as well.

Your next comment was, “the symbols are obvious and cliché “

You really haven’t given me much to work with so I have decided to address this in two ways. My first response will assume that you fully understand the logic and the aesthetics in the mathematical structure of the poem. My second response will assume that you do not understand the logic nor the aesthetics employed in the structure.

My first response:
You have actually illuminated one of the difficulties when choosing the descriptive elements in a mathematical poem. The more literal the words used in the poem then the more clear and readable the intention becomes, yet one always runs the risk of being cliché. Of course this can be said in traditional poetry as well for you can become so narrow in your attempt at being descriptive that you become cliché. Because mathematical poetry is so new to many I have decided in many cases to focus on the beauty in the mathematical relationships between the elements as opposed to the verbal expressions within that structure. Many times I place a pedagogical spin to a poem in hope of spawning interest. However, here is a case where it may have backfired.

My second response:
Since you don’t understand the mathematical language it is really difficult to take your response to heart. It is much like listening to a person passing judgment on French poetry while not knowing the French language.

The poem "The Lotto" where you left your comment has the structure of what I call the similar triangles poem. My next blog entry will be dedicated to illuminating the structure of the similar triangles poem such as the one discussed in this blog entry.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Freedom Of Speech

Every country has freedom of speech; it is just the consequences for that freedom varies.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Polyaesthetics and Mathematical Poetry

I am pleased to announce that the paper I wrote on “Polyaesthetics and Mathematical Poetry” was accepted into the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts. It is now available at the following link :

Sunday, April 01, 2007

My Wedding

I feel that my blog has been suffering the past 4 months due to my life being consumed by my wedding and the consequent website that I built to honor the event.

If you are interested you can check it out at

Visit the National Gallery of Writing