Spreading kindness: a tribute to online poetry communities

The margins of decision-making can be fine. This morning I awoke with a mild sore throat and a headache. In normal circumstances I would not give any thought to these very minor symptoms: but these are not normal times and, being a dutiful citizen, I contemplate the need to self-isolate.  Until this moment self-isolation, like […]

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Review: Ode to Numbers by Sarah Glaz.

In her poem ‘A Woman in Love’, the mathematician and poet Sarah Glaz describes herself as seeing ‘a streak of mathematics/ in almost everything’. The title of her collection of mathematical poetry, Ode to Numbers, is taken from a poem by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda which invokes the passion of mathematical curiosity, the urge […]

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James Clerk Maxwell: physicist and poet

When my husband and I first moved to Aberdeen in 1983, we stayed briefly in a house on Clerk Maxwell Crescent.  It shames me now to admit that at the time I had only the vaguest idea who James Clerk Maxwell was, despite having studied electromagnetism as part of my undergraduate degree.

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Review: Smoke that Thunders by Eveline Pye

Mosi-oa-Tunya – the Smoke that Thunders, also known as the Victoria falls – straddles the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. From its broad, smooth-flowing course across a flat basalt plain the Zambezi river suddenly plummets down a fissure in the rock, foaming and churning into the narrow gorge over a hundred metres below. I remember […]

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Poetry and Mathematics

…the forces that divergent guide my life are like two teams of horses straining at my heart. Yet I contain no vacuum – and am slowly torn apart. This snippet of a poem, written when I was seventeen, expresses the conflict I felt between my passion for the arts and for the sciences, specifically between […]

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Beginnings

Was it like that for you as well, when you were at school? Words lived. They had histories, back-trails to ancient Greek rhetoric or Roman sensibility, to mediaeval French farms, soggy lowland water-meadows, absurd colonial rituals. They sang, they danced, with their own characteristic rhythm and energy. You could play with words, write stories, compose […]

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