operations research poetry

A colleague of mine lent me a book on mathematical poetry called Uneasy Relations by Michael Bartholomew-Briggs. It includes many operations research poems including “Constraints” and “Steepest Descent.” According to the back of the book,

Uneasy Relations is a sequence of poems playing with mathematical ideas. Non-specialists may choose to murmur them as zen-like meditations. For readers of a curious disposition, notes are provided that may be no less informative than those at the end of The Waste Land. The poems also touch on myth and fable, the arts of prediction and preventive maintenance, hill-walking, portfolio theory, sexual politics and the works of Edgar Allen Poe…Poetic ambitions arrived as part of a mid-life crisis and this chapbook is an attempt to bring together the two halves of [Bartholomew-Briggs’s] brain.

This is my favorite poem:

Mission Statement

Optimization
means a quest for best answers
with the least trouble.

Optimism means
believing both objectives
are achievable.

M. Bartholomew-Briggs. Uneasy Relations, Hearing Eye, London. ISBN 978-1-905082-31-5

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