I have always been drawn to the visual poetry of mathematics: the crisp clean curves of conic sections; the graceful graphs associated with trigonometric functions; the meditative intricacies of the Mandelbrot Set; even the simple, elongated elegance of the integral sign. I still recall the thrill I experienced as a teenager when I was first introduced to the triangular array of numbers known as Pascal’s Triangle. Mathematically, the array has applications in algebra, combinatorics and probability theory, but it is also intriguing as an object in itself, on account of the many patterns embedded in its structure.Continue reading
Last month Tesserae: A mosaic of poems by Zimbabwean women, was released into the world. Working on this book with Samantha Vazhure, founder and editor of Carnelian Heart Publishing, and the wonderful poets whose voices are featured within its pages, has been an immensely rewarding experience.Continue reading
Messages from the past take many forms: ancient structures, buildings, and artefacts; burial sites; rituals and symbolism; stories, poems and songs shared through generations; sculptures, paintings, works of art.Continue reading
When I was a child, my friends and I enjoyed crafting and playing with paper fortune-tellers, a form of origami made with square paper folded in a sequence of triangles.
The illustration below is of my fortune teller poem Seasons and Landscapes in two dimensions. You can download a PDF version to print out and fold into shape here. Folding instructions are given here (or here if you prefer a video version).
This poem was inspired by M. C. Escher’s lithograph Ascending and Descending (1960), which depicts figures on a staircase that appears to rise – or descend – in a continuous loop. This impossible construction is named the Penrose stairs, after Lionel and Roger Penrose.
The poem can in principle be read from almost any starting point, and in any direction.
‘We imagine we are climbing: every step is about 20 cm high, terribly exhausting and where does it get us? Nowhere; we don’t get one step further or higher.’
M. C. Escher, On Ascending and Descending, 1960.
Triangles, my new poetry collection, is now available to purchase directly from Penteract Press, who ship all over the world.
Billy Mills has generously written a review, which you can read here: https://ellipticalmovements.wordpress.com/2023/10/26/recent-reading-october-2023/
You can order a copy at this link: https://penteractpress.com/store/triangles
There may be poets who can sit in front of their computer or notebook and spontaneously compose a poem, but I am not one of them. Generally, my poems have a long gestation. I tend to mull them over while doing other things: gardening, walking, cleaning the bathrooms. Crocheting.Continue reading
‘Can machines think?’
Alan Turing posed this question in his seminal 1950 paper ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’ that laid the foundations for research into artificial intelligence. Turing’s life and work provide the inspiration for Machinations, a poetic collaboration between Kinneson Lalor and JP Seabright published by Trickhouse Press. Fiercely intelligent, dazzlingly inventive and profoundly insightful, Machinations does justice not only to the depth, breadth and creative genius of Turing’s intellectual achievements but also to the complex layers of his personality.
I asked Kinneson and JP how the book came into being, their experience of working together and what informed their creative choices.Continue reading
Squeezed awkwardly between the round completeness of 10 and factored convenience of 12, 11 is the odd one out. We don’t have 11 fingers or toes; we never buy 11 rolls, or eggs, or long-stemmed roses for our lover. In binary notation its digits become the three of us, on our terrace with coffee and scones in the sunlight and birdsong of June, while the radio plays Test Match Special and 11 extends its parallel arms towards the unbounded sky.
This is a square poem: there are 11 syllables per line and 11 lines.
It was first published in The Book of Penteract.