Poetry / Anthony Etherin
:: Geometry ::
I nest a cone’s apex, angles in veer; a concave, penta-tangential or a pit hypotenuse. Up, we bisect here phrase or line a plane, or, linear, a sphere. Web I sec.— then use up a pithy potential or a tangent; cave per a convex angle, sines, a penta-cosine. . . .
:: Pieces of the Solar System ::
Mercury Moon Deimos Herculina Veritas Alauda Eugenia Hebe Doris Palma Jupiter Europa Leda Metis Elara Arche Autonoe Sinope Sponde Aitne Carpo Herse Himalia Prometheus Hati Bestla Pan Calypso Daphnis Skathi Aegir Anthe Helene Tethys Uranus Titania Perdita Belinda Neptune Neso
Venus Earth Mars Phobos Ceres Pallas Patientia Thisbe Interamnia Euphrosyne Ganymede Callisto Thebe Euanthe Dia Erinome Pasiphae Aoede Saturn Hyperion Enceladus Dione Atlas Iapetus Pandora Loge Rhea Epimetheus Juliet Miranda Puck Ariel Triton Naiad Pluto Charon Haumea Eris
From the writer
:: Account ::
“Geometry,” a poem celebrating the aesthetics of mathematics, was, fittingly, composed according to a strict mathematical constraint. The poem is what I call a “heterogeneous palindrome”: unlike the more common “homogeneous palindromes” (which are, more often than not, palindromes by single letter units—e.g., “To oscillate my metallic soot”), heterogeneous palindromes employ palindromic units that vary in accordance with a premeditated sequence. For example, “Melody, a bloody elm” is heterogeneously palindromic in the sequence 1–2‑3–4: M(1)- el(2)- ody(3)- a blo(4)- ody(3)- el(2)- m(1).
Taking inspiration from its subject, “Geometry” is a heterogeneous palindrome in the sequence 31415926535897932384—that is, in the decimal expansion of π. To further highlight the complementarity shared between poetry and mathematics—two disciplines whose interrelations have a rich history—the poem employs the language of geometry in order to obliquely discuss the composition of formal verse, making use, where possible, of terms meaningful to both disciplines.
This second, experimental poem presents two lists, each featuring the common names of various planets, dwarf planets, asteroids, and moons located in our solar system. Presented in order of their distance from the sun, the objects in each list are further determined by a strict literary constraint: the two lists are perfect anagrams.
The goal of this experiment was to undertake an anagram for which, so restricted was its vocabulary, there may be no solution. It struck me that such a predicament is not unlike that faced by all poets: even when formal requirements can be easily satisfied, one inevitably meets with the prospect that the “right words” might not exist. By way of a constraint, I had made this a very literal possibility!
My subject, the contents of the solar system, was chosen to reflect the uncertainty and joy of discovery that comes when exploring the entities bound to a space—be they physical bodies in a star’s thrall or words upon a page.
Anthony Etherin is a UK-based writer of experimental poetry, prose, and music. He has had leaflets published by No Press and Spacecraft Press and has several e‑books available online. Find him on twitter, @Anthony_Etherin, and via his website, songsofinversion.com. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.)