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Truth and Beauty, Poems by Marion Cohen

Six years ago the author developed, at Arcadia University, the course Truth and Beauty: Mathematics in Literature. Students study poetry and fiction inspired by or connecting with math. They also study the math with which the readings connect. The idea is to convey to students that math, literature, and life are related, and that math is not cold and inhuman. In the homework questions and class conversations students are encouraged but not required to share their experiences and thoughts. The teacher/author also shares hers. Both students and teacher have said and written some very cool things. These poems achieve a nice balance, and express the communication and interaction that have taken place.

Sample Poems by Marion Cohen

"Marion Cohen's poems continue the conversations she held with her students in her literature and mathematics course 'Truth and Beauty.' They are magical and musical echoes to the students' responses to pieces of poetry and prose they read in this course. And in the process, they shed light on students' experiences with mathematics and life, and on the importance of the nurturing relationship a good teacher develops with her students."―Sarah Glaz, University of Connecticut Coeditor of Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics

"Marion Cohen is a mathematician and much of her poetry embeds mathematical imagery into personal memories and philosophical dreams. This book is a different kind of a lovefest. It is a snapshot of her love affair with her students, with the young minds and hearts who open up and flourish when a teacher sincerely and finally asks them to.

"Teachers of mathematics will find much to aspire to here. Cohen connects with her students at a deeper level, a personal level, a pre-mathematical level… She is a teacher whose heart is on her sleeve, whose heart must be breaking and remaking itself perpetually in these conversations with her students… She is the teacher who knows that 'everything is something for someone to be afraid of', the teacher whose students fear, among other things, 'insects, failure, and the grotesquely oversized mouths of the kids in the Honeycomb commercials'… the teacher who brings extra cheatsheets to the exam and a limerick reminding them to write down their names, and chocolate. Cohen has written an evocative and powerful memoir in poetic form, an inspirational pamphlet for teachers new and old…"--Gizem Karala, Pomona University, Co-editor of Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, Staff member of The Mathematical Intelligencer

"These vignettes assemble themselves into a perceptive dialogue between students and teacher, where the eternal truth and beauty of mathematics becomes a framework for vivid fragments of 'now' in a college classroom." --Alice Major, author of Intersecting Sets: A Poet Looks at Science

ISBN: 978-1625492111, 50 pages

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