As a child growing up in what is now Zimbabwe, I was drawn both to the arts and to the sciences, in particular to poetry and to mathematics. I wrote poetry as a teenager, finding inspiration in the richly varied landscape of southern Africa.
Eventually I opted to study applied mathematics and went on to teach at schools in the Middle East and Scotland before moving to Kent, where I now live. In 2019 I completed a Master’s degree in creative writing with the Open University.
I have long been conscious of the poetry of mathematics: its ability to express complex ideas elegantly and succinctly, its exploitation of patterns to infer deep connections between seemingly unrelated fields, its use of abstract forms to convey profound insights into universal interactions. Inspired by the works of mathematician-poets such as Sarah Glaz and JoAnne Growney, in recent years I have begun to explore mathematical poetry. My work frequently interweaves mathematical imagery with everyday experience, at times explicitly, at times more obliquely.
My poetry has been published in, among others, 192 magazine, Allegro Poetry, Amethyst Review, As Above So Below, Consilience, Dust Poetry, The Ekphrastic Review, The Fib Review and The Journal of Humanistic Mathematics. Periodicities and Fevers of the Mind have both featured a selection of my poems.
In print my work has appeared in The Stony Thursday Book 16 (Summer 2018), Pushing Out the Boat, The Kent & Sussex Poetry Society Folio 74, the anthologies Myth and Metamorphosis and The Book of Penteract (both published by Penteract Press), Pandemic Love and Other Affinities (IceFloe Press), Poetrishy 1 and 2, Dark Confessions, Sun-Tipped Pillars of our Hearts, and Christmas/Winter Anthology Vols. I, II and III (all published by Black Bough Poetry). Four of my poems have been published in The Bridges 2020 anthology of mathematical poetry.
My collection of essays From Fibs to Fractals: exploring mathematical forms in poetry, was originally published by Beir Bua Press in 2021 and is due to be republished later this year by Ice Floe Press.
Fractal Poems, a sequence of poems whose content and form are inspired by fractal forms, is published by Penteract Press (2021).
Triangles, a sequence of constrained poems, is published by Penteract Press (2023).
I am on Twitter / X @marian_v_o.