Two Poems

Poetry / Anthony Etherin

:: Geometry ::

I nest a cone’s apex,
angles in veer;
a concave, 
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,
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, (Email: