Entry 1515 — Sonnet Revision

July 22nd, 2014

My adventures trying to get the following sonnet the way I wanted it was a major strand of my first full-length book, Of Manywhere-at-Once, 23 years ago:

Sonnet from my Forties 

Much have I ranged the major-skyed suave art 
The Stevens shimmered through his inquiries 
Into the clash and blend of seem and are 
And volumes filled in vain attempts to reach 

The heights that he did. Often, too, I've been 
To where the small dirt's awkward first grey steps 
Toward high-hued sensibility begin 
In Roethke's verse, or measured the extent 

Of hammered gold and wing-swirled mythic light 
That Yeats achieved, or marveled down the worlds 
That Pound re-morninged windily to life, 
And struggled futilely to match their works. 

Yet still, nine-tenths insane though it now seems, 
I seek those ends, I hold to my huge dreams.

The last chapter alone has five versions of it.  I reworked it at least ten times in the next four or five years.  Since then, I fiddled with at every few years and, for some unknown reason, took a stab at it again a few nights ago, ending yesterday with the version above.  Who knows whether it will be my final version.  Right now I dislike it slightly less than I dislike the other versions.   I consider it a fascinating failure.  If I ever finally finish the second volume of Of Manywhere-at-Once that I planned to have published a year after the first edition of volume one, I’ll explain in detail why I rate it as I do.  (I also consider it brilliant, by the way.)

* * *

Here are two more entries to the list I posted yesterday:

No poetry written after the year X is any good.

No poetry written before the year X is any good.

A thought of my own: the popularity of serious poetry depends much more on what the people in it are doing than, say, what the language in it is.  I elitistly believe that the more unanthrocentric (people-centered)  a poem is, the better is it–and the less it will appeal to philistines. Sometimes.



Scientific American Blog Relocated

July 21st, 2014

My Scientific American Blog is now here–with a complete table of contents.

AHOY!  I finally got Entry 18 done.  It is now here.    Comments Welcome! Please let me know of any typos or gross factual errors. Warning: it’s me at my abstrusest worst–for over 8,000 words.

Later note: From time to time, I will be revising Entry 18.  I hope eventually to correct all the many mistakes in the version first posted.

Entry 1514 — Another State-of-Poetry Article

July 21st, 2014

There’s another one of those what’s-wrong-with-poetry essays here.

It and the really stoopit comments about it have me thinking of writing a more intelligent on the subject. I think it might be accepted by a mainstream magazine like The Atlantic, not yet cured of such thoughts in spite of never getting any response from mainstream publications I’ve submitted work to that was not a form rejection.

In any case, I thought I’d warm up for the task of writing my essay with a list of standard comments on the poetry of our time that I may want to address. The first four are from comments to the article the link above is to, followed by my own observation:

1. Free verse killed poetry.
2. Obscurity is killing poetry.
3. Poets’ focusing on their own concerns rather than on the concerns of readers is killing poetry.
4. The value of poetry, like any endeavor, lies in the effort it takes to produce it.
5. Almost no one discussing the state of contemporary poetry seems to realize that Wilshberia si not the only site of poetry-construction.

There should be more items on this list but for some reason I can’t think of any just now. Time for a nap. More tomorrow.


Entry 1513 — Orange, Green and Blue

July 20th, 2014

I call this “The Quantity Composition in Orange, Green and Blue to the Power of X”:

OGBtotheXI threw it together the other day when I was having trouble uploading graphics to see if I could upload it.  I was unable to.  It’s here mainly because I want to get this entry out of the way quickly and get working on something Very Important–as yet unidentified.  But I also find it intriguing.  It makes me wonder what the image on the left would equal if raised to the power of x + 1, for instance.  Or to i/x.  I think if I were teaching a class in visimagery to college math students, I might make one of their assignments solving for the composition in orange, green and blue raised to the power of x = 1, and another assignment changing the exponent involved to something else of their choice and solving the resulting equation.

Note: I consider this technically a visiomathematical poem, but a very poor one because just dahdahed-together.  I feel I could make a thousand similar poems in a single day, and there’d be no sane way to idenify the best of them.  But it’d be fun!

To make it effective, I believe one would have to find some way of making the equation metaphorically plausible.



Entry 1512 — A Quick Revision

July 19th, 2014

Within minutes of posting yesterday’s entry, I revised the image I’d posted in it:


I think it’s now at least two times better than it was.  Amazing how important locating everything can be.  Yet I still don’t think it’s as right as it could be.


Entry 1511 — Putterwork from Paint Shop

July 18th, 2014

I almost forgot about my blog today–because I spent four or five hours working on the image below.  It took so long because I tried too smooth the curves pixel by pixel, and remove an immense amount of noise, pixel by pixel.  Of course, anyone knowing Paint Shop or Photo Shop would have done what I did in ten minutes, probably.  But I got the job done.  It’s one of seven images planned that grow in size until they form a frame for my Mathemaku No. 10, which features a heart, as will the final image of the frame.  It’s an attempt to make a cover for an issue of Journal of Mathematics and the Arts that will probably be rejected.



Entry 1510 — A Working Blog Again

July 17th, 2014

As you can see, I can post graphics here again.  I have no idea why: I tried to do what I’ve always done yesterday, and got the Pollock below posted.  Then I posted a proper version of LeRoy Gorman’s wonderful poem.

LeRoyGormanZNumber1Jackson Pollock

My own self isn’t doing better, though.   So that’s it for this installment.



Entry 1509 — Converting My Blog

July 16th, 2014

Due to on and off computer trouble–due almost certainly to my ineptitude–I am seriously thinking of doing the whole thing offline as a not-necessarily daily journal and just using my blog for excerpts from it, with information on how to get a subscription to hard copies of it.   Make it a quarterly.   In other words, go back to the way things wuz.  More on this in due course.

Meanwhile, the latest old-man medical news from here is that yesterday evening, my left knee suddenly went bad–some kind of sprain.  I can still hobble around and it’s not very painful, but, coming after my other symptoms, it’s worrisome.



Entry 1508 — “to die in one’s sleep”

July 15th, 2014

I finally came back to my blog and found I can’t post graphics anymore.  I suspect I have used up just about all my storage space.  I wanted to post one of the 19 terrific math poems in LeRoy Gorman’s aftermaths, a copy of which I just got in the mail from him.  Its title is “to die in one’s sleep.”  What’s below is my attempt to show it as accurately as I’m able to at this site–in other words, not too accurately:



Well, on the version of my entry I have here before posting it to the Internet, I have LeRoy’s poem as a big Z in the center of my screen and a little z above it to the right.  But when I’ve posted it and gone to the Internet to check what’s there, all that’s there is a little z way off to the right.  Meanwhile, I asked mIEKAL aND, whose site this blog is part of (as I feebly understand it), what he thought was going on.  He checked, and was able to post graphics here.  I’m allowed as much space as I need, he told me.  I tried a different browser with the same result. Evidentally, my computer has some kind of virus that keeps me from using html or posting graphics.  So I guess I’ll just make it a text-only blog–until I can’t do that anymore.

As I hope will be obvious, it’s supposed to be a z with an exponent of z.  Very funny at the comic-strip level . . . but deep, in my view, at the haiku-level.  The poem is best with a properly-placed exponent, but the version above has me wondering how to make a poem based on a distant exponent, as above–or a displaced exponent of any kind. . . .

A main reason I’ve been away is that my legs and a few other parts of me haven’t been right.  I guess the oest way to describe it is that I feel like I have some kind of five- or six-inch-wide band around each of my legs just above the ankle that’s a bit too tight.  My feet feel sort of swollen, but aren’t.  They feel heavy.  My heart seems not to be the cause, nor my brain, according to the cat-scan I got when I finally went in to a hospital.  The only thing not normal in the tests I got, including several blood-tests, was an abnormal reading of my urine specimen.  So I had to take Cipro, an anti-biotic with numerous side-effects, half of which I thought I suffered, for a possible urinary tract infection.

I took the Cipro for a week, and there was no real change in my symptoms, so today I saw my GP. He scheduled me for an MRI of my back (which has been feeling fine) and a sonar scan (or whatever) of my feet for next week.  My doctor felt the pulse around my ankles and said it was “not robust.” So it looks to be circulatory. I feel better about it–apparently it’s nothing I have to be rushed to the hospital about.

I still think it may be some kind of nervous breakdown.  Which wouldn’t embarrass me: you run too many miles and your knees give out; you chase ideas too long and your nerves and/or glands give out.  What’s the difference? Meanwhile, I’ve done less writing these past two weeks than I usually do even when in and out of the null zone, but I got some work done. As for this blog, what I hope to do is back-up this entire blog to an external hard drive, if I can find a way to do it that won’t take a hundred hours, then delete everything here except the last six months, say. I hope to have another entry tomorrow, but can’t guarantee it.  I feel okay right now, though.


Entry 1507 — Vacation-Time Again

July 7th, 2014

I’ve been dragging of late, so have decided to close my blog for a week, possibly longer.