Using Mathematics to Make Poetry

JoAnne Growney
Proceedings of Bridges 2011: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (2011)
Pages 621–624


Guided by an experienced teacher, this Bridges workshop invites experiments with word-arrangements using mathematical forms and strategies—encouraging formation of patterns that become poems. Some activities involve altering prior texts using mathematical operations while others create new texts with patterns of number or geometry. Participants need no prior experience in poetry writing---writers and non-writers alike will be encouraged to play with language; moreover, teachers seeking to combine mathematical ideas with poetry in their classrooms will find useful possibilities here. Connections to mathematical topics (such as permutations and the Catalan numbers) will be included; however, the primary goal of this workshop is to give participants experiential awareness of ways that mathematical concepts and structures can influence the beauty and effectiveness of words.