Thursday, December 22, 2022

Winter Poem Swap Treasures

Happy Poetry Friday! Today I'm thrilled to share the wonderful winter poem and gifts I received from my Poem Swap partner. First though, a HUGE thank you to Tabatha Yeatts for coordinating the Winter Poem Swap. You'll find Tabatha's blog here.  

I'm relatively new to the Winter Poem Swap--this is only the second time I've participated. This year, I was paired with Tricia Stohr-Hunt. Tricia is a professor at the University of Richmond, where she prepares future teachers. At her blog, The Miss Rumphius Effect, she writes about "children's literature, poetry, and issues related to teaching children and their future teachers."

For the swap, Tricia sent an envelope filled with marvelous treasures, including two notebooks and a bag of sweet-smelling scented soaps!

It wasn't until I read Tricia's note inside the lovely "Book Leaf" bearing a George Kingsley quote that I discovered she had made both of the notebooks! The small folded notebook with the beautiful butterfly design on the front contains pockets--they held the poem she'd sent plus a series of prompts to inspire my own poems. The second journal is meant to hold those new poems. 

Here's a peek inside the folded notebook:

What a terrific idea! I'm looking forward to trying the prompts in the new year--almost all of them are for forms I've never written before. 

And it was obvious from the poem Tricia sent that she'd done her homework. We've never met, but she knew of my math background. She labeled her poem accordingly:

Holiday Poem Swap 2022
To: Carmela (a fellow math lover)

A Mathematical Pi Poem.

In case you aren't familiar with this form, the number of syllables per line in a pi poem must equal the numbers in pi up to that point. For example, in a 3-line pi poem (often called a pi-ku or π-ku because it has the same number of lines as a haiku), the syllables per line equal 3, 1, 4, to represent the first three digits of π: 3.14. Since pi is infinite, there’s no limit to the number of lines in a pi poem. The longest  I've ever written contains eight lines. Tricia's Mathematical Pi Poem is 36 lines long and is quite splendid!  (If you have difficulty reading the poem in the photo below, you should be able to click on the image to enlarge.) 

I love everything about this poem, and I especially connected with these lines:

There is wonder in
how the world
arranges itself.
Mathematicians across time
find universal delight in
the perfect arrangement of
lines in a plane, or in quadratic

I also love the last stanza (which cleverly follows a blank line to represent the digit 0):

Where will
beauty find you? It sure finds
me in the mystery of math.

I'm so grateful for this opportunity to get to know Tricia a bit. She definitely feels like a kindred spirit.  In addition to loving math's mysteries, I'm intrigued by the intersections between math and poetry. And Tricia's pi poem is a marvelous example of that!

December has been an exceptionally gray month here in the Chicago area. Receiving the envelope of treasures from Tricia really brightened my day, week, and month! And the gifts will also brighten the New Year as I put them to use. Thank you, Tricia!

If you'd like to read the poem I sent Tricia, you can find it in her post here. I hope you'll also check out this week's Poetry Friday roundup being hosted by Irene Latham at Live Your Poem.

I wish all of you, our TeachingAuthors readers, a blessed and happy holiday season. Esther will be back on January 6 with a special book giveaway to kick off the New Year! 



  1. I love this whole post--the swap organized by Tabatha, the thoughtfulness of Tricia in creating bespoke gifts for you...the words! Oooh la la. Everything is good here. Enjoy! And, i so look forward to seeing what poems come from your new journals!

  2. I love "There is wonder in/how the world/arranges itself" too. Tricia did a beautiful job with the poem and gifts!

  3. Yes, shout out to Tabatha, who helps put in motion so much love and goodness! And wow, what bounty from Tricia, so personal and creative. Being math lovers (AND poets!) is such a lovely thing to have in common, yes? Happy holidays, and thanks for sharing. xo

  4. What a joy this swap was, Carmela.
    I recently had a conversation with my rocket-scientist son about how he plans to share his belief in God with his newborn son. He said, I'll explain the beauty of pi. :)
    Happy Holidays!

  5. A beautiful post, lovely poem and fun tradition to swap poems and little treasures over the holidays! Happy Holidays to the teaching authors!

  6. Joy in math, a loving gift, Carmela! The notebooks are very special. I have one granddaughter who adores math. I will share Tricia's poem with her, too! Happiest of holiday wishes to you & your family!

  7. Yes, I'm looking forward to where the prompts will take me, too, Linda.

  8. I agree. Thanks again, Tabatha, for making all this wonderfulness possible.

  9. Happy holidays to you, too, Irene. And thanks for hosting today's roundup.

  10. Wow, Patricia. I love what your son said! Thanks for sharing it.

  11. Linda B, I love knowing your granddaughter is a math fan, too. I hope she'll be inspired to try her own pi poem.

  12. I am in awe. In awe of all three of you, Carmela! Tabatha, for organizing and overseeing it, Tricia, for her virtual hug in the form of her gifts to you, and you, for sharing in wonderful detail all of it with us.


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