From Fibs to Fractals

Playing with mathematical forms in poetry

With Marian Christie. Mathematical patterns underpin many of poetry’s standard forms – think of the syllable count in haiku, the rotation of end-words in a sestina, the iterations in a pantoum. In this workshop we’ll explore some other, less familiar, ways in which mathematical structures can enrich our writing. We’ll consider fib poems* and square poems, permutations and symmetry, and how mathematics lends itself to experimental poetry. The emphasis will be on readings and discussion, with an opportunity to do some writing as well if time allows.

As many of the readings have a strong visual component the workshop will take place online, making use of document-sharing. No prior mathematical knowledge is required beyond the ability to count and add!

* a fib poem is structured according to a number sequence known as the Fibonacci sequence.

Tuesday 24th August 10.00-12.00 online
Fee £10 Tickets available soon


Marian Christie taught maths in schools before completing a Master’s degree in creative writing with the Open University in 2019. She has 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. Her work has been published widely, including four poems in The Bridges 2020 Anthology of Mathematical Poetry.

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