The Golden Ratio, denoted by the Greek letter phi, is an irrational number that has intrigued mathematicians and artists through the centuries, featuring in geometry, number theory, physics, biology, painting, architecture, music and other disciplines. Its value to 20 digits isContinue 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.
A thin slime trail meanders over the gravel to my flowerbeds, where hostas that I had tended so carefully have been reduced to tattered shreds. A robin perches among panicles of lilac as you approach with buttered scones and coffee. Light slants through leaves, glistens the slime trail silver. Everything contributes to the dazzle of this day – even snails. This Fibonacci poem was first published in The Fib Review Issue #41
Arma virumque cano – ‘I sing of arms and the man’. With these resonant words Virgil opens his great epic the Aeneid, composed over two thousand years ago. The poem, which is nearly ten thousand lines long, is written almost entirely in dactylic hexameter – an astonishing feat of constrained writing, especially when we consider that Virgil lacked the convenience of our modern-day word processing and editing tools.Continue reading
In his 1982 book ‘The Fractal Geometry of Nature’ the mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot explored ‘irregular and fragmented patterns around us’ that ‘tend to be scaling, implying that the degree of their irregularity and/or fragmentation is identical at all scales.’
He called this family of shapes fractals, from the Latin adjective fractus, meaning fragmented or irregular. Such objects, Mandelbrot noted, are present in nature as well as in a wide range of fields.Continue reading
Permutations are a feature of many poetic forms: rhyme and metrical patterns, the arrangement of lines in a villanelle or pantoum, the rotation of end-words through the stanzas of a sestina. Ruth Holzer’s ‘For Dylan Thomas on His Hundredth Birthday’ is an example of a sestina by a contemporary poet, with end-words wild, sky, end, hills, wave, love.Continue reading