I’ve been searching for references to Eavan Boland’s poem “Code” as research for an upcoming project, and I ran across a fellow poet who likes math as a stimulus for poetry. JoAnne Growney’s blog, Intersections — Poetry With Mathematics — is full of very cool stuff. She’s got math, she’s got computer code, she’s got international politics and frogs. Check it out!
This poem, published in the US in 2001 in a book titled Against Love Poetry, was published in the UK first, where the collection was titled Code. This article from the New York Times review of the book, explains how Boland:
“adds another dimension to her literary persona, showing herself to be a poet not only of feminism and Ireland, but one interested in making sense of the way the abstractions of time and space play themselves out in human relations.
The most succinct, lingering expression of this interest comes in a poem called ”Code,” an ode to ”Grace Murray Hopper 1906-88, maker of a computer compiler and verifier of COBOL.” In it, Boland envisions Hopper writing code at her desk in New Hampshire and tries to connect with her over distance and generations: ”You are west of me and in the past,” she writes. In these few simple words, Boland transforms the past from a place that is long gone to a place that we can travel into, just as in any other direction; then she goes there with great effect.”
Are you interested in code poetry or poetry about math? Stay tuned!
(Photo of Eavan Boland from an unattributed website. Photo of Grace Murray Hopper from Wikipedia, cited from the Smithsonian.)