Math Education Concepts

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Math and Poetry


I know…  This is an old topic, but it is new to my blog!  I truly believe there is a link between math and poetry.  I have a passion for writing poetry, when time allows.  I also enjoy math (teaching and learning).  A few years ago I enrolled in a “History of Mathematics” course and was pleasantly surprised to learn that my professor, Marion Cohen, was also a poet (writer).  This confirmed my ideas about the subject, although there are many examples in math history of mathematicians who are also known poets (Omar Khayyam, Claudius Ptolemy, Eratosthenes of Cyrene, and others).

When I teach math, I am inspired to write poetry.  When I write poetry, I think of new ways to explain math concepts.  It is as though my thoughts linger between the two extremities that are logical on the one hand, but emotional on the other.

I only recently acknowledged the connection between math and poetry, but I embrace both with vigor and intensity as the two collide and erupt into something beautiful!  When I teach mathematical concepts, the ideas flow smoothly like the words of a poet.  When I write poetry, the words flow effortlessly like the formulas derived from many years of mathematical contributions and collaborations.  Even as I write this blog, my next poem is evolving.

I conclude with my thoughts on the subject (I wrote this during one of my expressive moments):

“Math and love are extremities of the universe…  Math as logic, requiring thought and relying little on emotion… Love as emotion and feeling, requiring little thought.  Math is the ultimate level of intelligence, love the ultimate level of emotion.  If one achieves the summit of intelligence, then they also have the capacity to achieve the depths of love.  The universe is balanced… Math balances love, and love math.  It is that balance of math and love that creates the greatness that is conceived within our greatest mathematicians.”

How does poetry inspire you to teach math?  How does math inspire you to write poetry?

Related articles:

Math for Grownups


Poetry with Mathematics

The Guardian


Author: Math Education Concepts

I am a Co-founder of and Program Coordinator for Math Corps Philadelphia, a combined academic enrichment and mentoring program. I am the author of "Teacher Training Manual: Designed for Secondary Mathematics Teachers of African American Urban Students." I hold a Master of Education degree in Secondary Mathematics and have several years of experience teaching secondary and post-secondary mathematics.

5 thoughts on “Math and Poetry

  1. Pingback: Math and Poetry « Guzman's Mathematics Weblog

  2. Wow, Nneka. Each time you blog you become the Shaman to your poet father. By the way. As a creative writer, playwright and screenwriter, folks marvel when they come to my pad and see more science and math books than novels and poetry. And I am an avid chess player. And if I shop for books it will be collections of short stories, but mostly … SciFy


  3. Pingback: Take a Phobia: Take Mine, Please! | Two Voices, One Song

  4. Pingback: 4 November 2012: international poetry event « Gratitude every day

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