Maths Poems

Is it possible to write a maths poem? This interdisciplinary project brings together mathematicians and poets to explore the possibility of using mathematical language to express poetic concepts.

Mathematics and linguistics are often pitted in opposition. Conventionally, mathematics is synonymous with rational, logical thought, whereas language inhabits communicative and expressive forms. This research aims to disassemble this dichotomy and explore the common ground held by the two disciplines.

This research project wants to break down poetry’s reputation for being inaccessible, and obscure. The team wants to find new ways of creating and publishing poems through their innovative collaboration.

What is being created?

The research team facilitated a series of workshops where poets and mathematicians collaboratively explored various poetic forms, weaving in mathematical concepts and language throughout. Under the expert guidance of Dr Mimi Thebo, the Maths Poets workshopped each other’s poems in a creative writing context. After a process of editing, the poems were collated and published by Johanna Darque at Small Press. The anthology was launched in November 2019.

Find out more about the Maths Poems workshops and the Maths Poets’ experiences or buy the Maths Poem Anthology.

Who are the team and what do they bring?

  • Mimi Thebo (English) is a Carnegie-nominated children’s author. Her research interests include writing trauma and writing nature in the Anthropocene.
  • Richard Pettigrew‘s (Philosophy) research interests include the knowledge and justification of uncertain beliefs and the philosophy of mathematics.
  • Rebecca Kosick (Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies) researches hybrid creative-critical ways of learning and communicating. She is interested in how poetry intersects with visual art and media.
  • Johanna Darque has a background in interdisciplinary research and is publisher at Small Press Books.
  • Also involved are Poets; Holly Corfield Carr, Jack Thacker, Rowan Evans, Miranda Barnes and Mathematicians; Dr Florian Bouyer, Dominic Verdon, Dr Mauro Fazion Filho and Dr Tyler Helmuth

What's next?

In November 2019 Maths Poems held a fantastic poetry reading to launch their Maths Poems Anthology. It was a wonderful evening of pantoums, haikus and beautiful verses on topics such as dendrochronology, fractals and pigeons. The anthology is packed full of curious and delightful poetry combining the expressive and symbolic.

The research group have formed an exciting new research cluster at the University of Bristol focusing on Interdisciplinary Poetics.
Follow @In_Poetics on Twitter or join the Indisciplinary Poetics Mailing List for events, updates and experiments.



We love Maths Poems’ radical interdisciplinarity within which the team has found so much common ground that opens up new insights into their disciplines. We also love how the team have had so much fun! Brigstow

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