This post is part of a weekly column highlighting found poetry related news and resources. If you know of found poetry related news, resources or events that should be featured here, please email News & Resources Editor Martin Elwell.
I stumbled upon this intriguing article in Berfrois about the power of the incomprehensible. The article spoke to me on several levels: First, I often hear people stress about whether or not their poetry makes sense. Barry Mazur points out that incomprehensible language is sometimes more powerful than perfectly understandable pieces. Second, I am greatly annoyed by poor analytical leaps and the misuse of data/mathematics. I run across it most often in the news. Mazur expounds upon the absurdity of the problem. Third, in addition to mathematics, Mazur loops in poetry and language. Read on here!
Those of us who write found poetry know that there is great power in the details and language of ordinary life. Here is an article by Joe Fassler in The Atlantic that highlights how several authors have used the small, human moments in life to create great meaning.
I Googled “math poetry,” and I found this: Mr. R’s World of Math and Science. It’s not at all what you’d think. Instead of poetry created based on mathematics, it’s poetry written to help teach mathematics. Since the poems are a bit silly, I thought they might be good candidates for some Oulipo techniques. Give it a try! Here’s one run through the N+7 Machine:
I have poets on my papas,
And pentathlons in my poets,
Prickle pentathlons in the poets,
Of my pursuit pentathlon papas…
I need to have 10 pentathlons,
To do the pentathlon daredevil,
So I want to have 10 pentathlons,
In the poets of my papas…
One poet in my papas,
Has 5 prickle pentathlons,
How many do I need,
To do the pentathlon daredevil?
5 more pentathlons?
Join me for the daredevil,
They’re in the other poet,
Of my pursuit pentathlon papas!!!