Fibonacci: Math and Poetry

When I came back to writing poetry in 2006, I began by writing haiku. I then found myself searching for other short forms and I stumbled across  a blog post discussing something called the Fibonacci poem. I was intrigued.

A Fib (for short) is a six line 20 syllable poem with count of 1/1/2/3/5/8 although I argue (and it has been done) that you could continue the Fibonacci sequence and write a much longer piece (see this Wiki about Inger Christensen and look for details about her book Alphabet) .  There are no rhyme schemes involved or specific subject matter that is preferred.

Back in 2006, that was about all I found on the Fibonacci poem. Since then a Wikipedia article has been created, Poetry Foundation has an essay posted about the form and now there is at least one literary journal devoted to the Fibonacci.

I am surprised that the wiki article indicates that John Frederick Nims discussed the form as early as 1974 in the introduction to Western Wind. I have Western Wind, how did I not notice that?

The form has even been discussed in the New York Times. These links will give you at least an hour if not more that you can spend learning about a form that seems so simple but can truly be daunting to create.

I have only attempted a few and I’ve never published myself. Although I did publish one at Shape of a Box that is viewable in the links below.  I love combining science and math in poetry but I could never quite make it click.  My most recent try was written during my Periodic Table project that eventually became the chapbook  The Wait of Atom. The poem didn’t make it into the chapbook but I thought I’d include it here.


in gem
stones. Beryl,
is the crystalline
form of Berylium, whose name
means roughly “to become pale”. She gasps at the lone stone.

It is a fun form to try, so get out your pencil, paper and calculator and give it a try.

Additional links:

Jessie Carty is the Editor of Shape of a Box, YouTube’s First Literary Magazine. Her poems have appeared in publications such as MARGIE, Iodine Poetry Journal and The Northville Review. Her non-fiction works have appeared in publications such as The Main Street Rag and She received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. Her first chapbook “At the A & P Meridiem” was released by Puddinghouse Publications in 2009. Her 2nd chapbook The Wait of Atom was released by Folded Word Press in 2009 and her first full length collection Paper House will be released by Folded Word in 2010. She can find her lurking on the web, but mostly at her BLOG


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Julie says:

    I have a soft spot for poetry mixed with science. I’ve blogged about both Fibonacci poems and scifaiku at my family-friendly science blog, Mama Joules. Nice to see more discussion of the form!

  2. jessiecarty says:

    Looking forward to checking out your site. I might have to do some more research on scifaku 🙂

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