Writing Poetry with Math

2 04 2011

The month of April is commonly known as National Poetry Month and  Mathematics Awareness Month.

While poetry and math seem to be very different, they actually have a deep connection.

In most poetry, math helps to create the poem just as much as language does. Mathematical concepts create the shape of the poem, the length of the lines and the pattern of the poem’s rhythm and rhymes.

You can see how math helps the rhythm and rhyme of poems by looking at the patterns of a limerick. A limerick is a short, funny poem with a specific rhythm and rhyme scheme (a-a-b-b-a). You can hear the rhythm of a limerick when you say it out loud.

Here is an example from an anonymous poet:

A circus performer named Brian
Once smiled as he rode on a lion.
They came back from the ride,
But with Brian inside,
And the smile on the face of the lion.

Can you hear the rhythm? Do you recognize the rhyme scheme?

To celebrate this month, try making your own limerick or finding the patterns in rhythm and rhyme in other poems.

You can also download an April calendar with fun math and poetry tasks here: Poetry and Math in April.




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