Carol Dorf: Math Poetry

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Visualize groups: there’s the babysitting co-op,
with slips of scrip the children color during
quarterly potlucks; and more than enough churches
each with study evenings, and fundraising committees;

let alone the PTA whose roster overlaps with both.
The library used to be open six days a week, but it’s down
to three, and streaming replaced the video store.
Group elements develop more complexity

than the smooth surface of empty Sunday streets
suggest. When we look to neighborhoods, sites
repeat, except in the vicinity of Upper Normal School
where cafes and the movie theater take up

asynchronous positions. At times, one eavesdrops
in an attempt to develop a theory of place,
where the odd one out has been assigned a node
in this network, or frog-jumps to another group.


Red on Red © Jeff and Lois Sheldon



Editor's Note: Don't miss "Why Poets Sometimes Think in Numbers," Carol Dorf's introduction to math poetry in TW.


Art Information

  • “Red on Red” © Jeff Shelden; used by permission


Carol Dorf is the poetry editor at Talking Writing. In addition to being a widely published poet, she is a high school math teacher.


"Time and space, what more is there to complain about, though a higher intellect would critique rather than settle for this whine. In a just world, you could flip time end over end, until you reached the place where you actually belonged." — "Library Hours"


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