On Mathematical Poetry (Post One)
I’m titling this series of posts “On Mathematical Poetry” and in the days and weeks to come I’ll be revisiting and revising and emending my thoughts as necessary.
In my Logoclasody Manifesto I included a brief addendum entitled “On Mathematical Poetry” and there I stated what I hold to be the most important point in the whole mathematical poetry endeavor:
There has to be considered the analogy between the grammatical sentence (the linguistic sentence) and the mathematical sentence (the mathematical equation). Already (“mathematical sentence”) I’m thinking analogically.
There has to be considered the analogy between the grammar of the sentence and the “mathematics” of the equation (i.e., of the mathematical statement).
And these are the examples I gave:
Change + purse = church.
kite + propeller = wing.
to + to = too.
am = be + I
secrets = ? + whispers
Here I offer a working definition of “mathematical poetry”:
The “mathematical poem,” if it is to be, or to contain, poetry, must have some poetic elements, as well as some formal symbols and operations of math.
I want to emphasize that by “operations of math” I do not mean that the poem will be “doing math.” What I mean is that the poem will be, in some way or in some sense — be that metaphorical, allegorical, but for the most part figurative — mimicking or imitating or finding a trope in that operation (whichever that operation may be). (I emphasize: I do not mean that the poem is “doing math.” Math does math. The poem is representational.)
If these are my formal symbols (and as such indicative of operations):
What then are my poetic elements?
ideas and images
(i.e., “to,” “am” and “be” are ideas, while “kite” and “propeller” are images, and an image can at the same time be an idea, and be as general or abstract as it can be specific or concrete)