I don’t know if all of you know this, but I’m kiiiind of a nerd. That poem I wrote, Subatomic Love, might have clued you in. Or parts of In Daddy’s Genes. I like comic books, video games, Dungeons and Dragons, fantasy and science fiction (it’s SF not sci-fi! haha) in all their various forms like movies novels poetry music art whatever, science of many varieties, and mathematics. This is relevant to poetry, I promise.
In fact, it has been argued that writing itself is a nerdy sort of thing. If that’s true then I never want to be cool. But back to what I was saying.
So, if you know a bit about mathematical concepts, you’re probably familiar with Fibonacci’s sequence. Start with 0 and 1, and you add the second number to the sum of the preceding pair. Like, 0+1 = 1, so the sum of the pair is 1 and the second number is 1. Therefore your next pair is 1 and 1. 1+1=2, then 1+2=3, so 2+3=5, then 3+5=8, then 5+8=13, and on into infinity. 0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55… It’s also a neat way to approximate the golden ratio (works best with the higher numbers, because 8/5=1.60000, but 55/34=1.617647, and then 89/55=1.61818, where the golden ratio is 1.61803, so you can get pretty close if you don’t need a lot of digits), if you’re into irrational numbers. I’m pretty fond of pi. And pie. Mmm, now I want fudge. But ignore that, I’m just hungry :P. Again, this is relevant, aside from the commentary on food.
What it boils down to is that I was bored at work, thinking about numbers and how wonderful they are, when inspiration fell out of the sky like an Acme anvil in a Looney Tunes cartoon.
The Fibonacci sequence is all whole numbers, right? So I can use it for poetry form.
For example, you can use the first bunch of numbers as your limits on words or syllables per line:
(for the purposes of poetry, I feel comfortable omitting the zero in my count)
Fibonacci Poetry #1
peeking out (3)
from beneath the snow, (5)
thriving while the world is asleep; (8)
Eliot was so wrong about April’s cruelty. (13)
© Bridget Noonan, 2011.
Or, you can get a little crazy with it. I was thinking about symmetry and palindromes as well, which is what I worked into this one. I work retail; if I don’t exercise my brain regularly, I’ll become another automaton going through the motions of life, and I’m way too young to give up, to no longer want “to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life”. Fuck that, I’m here, and I live deliberately. Regret is for other people.
So here’s another thing I was doodling between customers. Words this time, rather than syllables. I thought I’d give both a shot.
Fibonacci Poetry #2
beauty is (2)
suffocating in its (3)
intensity; I can’t breathe in (5)
or out unless (3)
I close (2)
© Bridget Noonan, 2011.
Whaddaya think? It’s probably not a new idea, but I like it. I’m probably going to write some more like this, because math is fun.