‘*Poetry is the shortest distance between two humans*.’ — Lawrence Ferlinghetti

**short poetry BIO**: Lawrence (Larry) Lesser is an award-winning UTEP professor who has co-organized national poetry contests, given talks/readings and written peer-reviewed articles on poetry in educational settings. His 90 published poems span over a dozen journals or anthologies (*Talking Writing*, *BorderSenses Literary Magazine*, *Poetica Magazine*, etc.). He’s also a former teaching center director, textbook author, and award-winning songwriter who lives in El Paso with his soulmate and their hairless rescue dog, Kelev.

**longer STEM-and-poetry BIO**: Two decades after a poetry seminar course from Susan Wood, moving to the mountainous west Texas desert inspired Lesser to resume writing poetry, publishing in Poets & Writers Directory venues such as *Talking Writing* and* BorderSenses Literary Magazine. *Most of his published poems distinctively draw from the lens of math/statistics, and some were anthologized, won national contest awards, appeared in STEM journals (*The Mathematical Intelligencer*, *Radical Statistics*, *Journal of Humanistic Mathematics*, *Teaching for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics*, *Amstat News*, *Teaching Statistics*, *Poetrishy*, or *Journal of Mexican American Educators*), or read at a conference (e.g., this, this or this), local and non-local readings/talks, a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read event here, podcast, video zine, gallery exhibit, or radio interview. He gave an invited interactive talk (that was recorded) for the National Museum of Mathematics, organized (with Gizem Karaali and Douglas Norton) evenings of mathematical poetry/art at the Joint Mathematics Meetings (e.g., 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2022, with printed programs), and judged (with Gizem Karaali and JoAnne Growney) the first AMS student math poetry contests in 2019 and 2020 (see contest page, which ends with math poetry resources). His STEM poems/songs are part of overall efforts (some funded by NSF) to humanize STEM, reduce anxiety, and support student learning.

**peer-reviewed STEM education-related papers on poetry:**

G. Karaali & L. Lesser (2021). “**Arts of the heart: Mathematics and poetry.”** In Bharath Sriraman (Ed.), *Handbook of the Mathematics of the Arts and Sciences* (pp. 967-979). NY: Springer.

L. Lesser (2021). “Presenting Mathematical Poetry Across Disciplinary Lines”. In David Swart, Frank Farris, Eve Torrence, & Craig S. Kaplan (Eds.), *Proceedings of Bridges 2021: Mathematics, Art, Music, Architecture, Education, Culture* (pp. 371-374). Phoenix, AZ: Tessellations Publishing. ISBN: 978-1-938664-39-7. http://archive.bridgesmathart.org/2021/bridges2021-371.pdf is the paper, which has an oral presentation.

L. Lesser (2021). “Stats Class ‘Stanza Part’ with Poetry!”, poster, 9th United States Conference on Teaching Statistics. [a related poster was subsequently presented at the 2021 Joint Statistical Meetings and yielded a JSM Proceedings paper (pp. 1236-1240, Section on Statistics and Data Science Education)]

L. Lesser (2014). “**Mathematical lyrics: Noteworthy endeavours in education”**. *Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, 8*(1-2), 46-53. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/17513472.2014.950833 (one of the journal’s most-read papers)

*71 **STEM/education poems*

(Jan. 2022). “Fib(ula)” and “The Big Fib”, p. 487 of “Poetry in the Glade: Bridges 2021 Fib Collection,” *Journal of Humanistic Mathematics*, *12*(1), 467-500. https://scholarship.claremont.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1926&context=jhm

(July 2021). “The Point of Inflection”.* Journal of Humanistic Mathematics*, *11*(2), 490-491. Earlier versions in summer 2020 issue of *Teaching for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics*, *11*(2), 16 and on p. 74 of June 2020 *Radical Statistics*, no. 126; excerpted 8/3/2020 on JoAnne Growney’s blog at https://poetrywithmathematics.blogspot.com/2020/08/point-of-inflection-and-coronavirus.html; included in the opening minutes of episode 7 (10/2/2020) of Belinda Subraman’s poetry/art/music video zine GAS, https://youtu.be/ZGwadh-NKxs), and in my part of the 2021 Bridges Poetry Reading and was selected to be part of the June-July 2022 “Reflections of 2020: A UTEP Community Art Exhibition” curated by Daisy Márquez for UTEP’s Student Engagement & Leadership Center.

(June 2021). 7 haiku poems on expected value (Deal or No Deal; 62% Shooter’s 1-and-1; Exchange Paradox; Negative Expected Value; Expectation in the Balance; Unbiased; The Point), collection won **2nd-place** in the poetry category of the 2021 A-mu-sing competition

(June 1, 2021). “Lottery Strategy”, “Simpson’s Paradox,” and “Significance”, limericks published in *Amstat News*, no. 528, p. 2 [also on blogpost].

(May 12, 2021). “Limacon Limerick” and “MoMath”, two of the **winners** in the National Limerick Day contest and reading sponsored by the National Museum of Mathematics

(March 2021). “Factor!al Countdown.” *The Mathematical Intelligencer, 43*(1), 104. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00283-020-10024-y

(April 2021). “Adjusted R Square” and “99.73%”, haiku poems for National Poetry Month, *Amstat News, no. 526*, p. 2 [also on blogpost]. The first was in my part of the 2021 Bridges Poetry Reading.

(Feb. 2021). “Cancel.” *Teaching for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics*, *12*(1), 16-17. https://larrylesser.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/CANCEL.pdf. In my part of the 2021 Bridges Poetry Reading. Excerpted on 5/24/2021 at Intersections: Poetry with Mathematics (math poetry blog edited by JoAnne Growney).

(Feb. 2021). “Significance”. *Radical Statistics*, no. 128, p. 4.

(Feb. 2021). “Matched Pairs”. CAUSEweb

(Feb. 24, 2020). 2019. Intersections: Poetry with Mathematics (math poetry blog edited by JoAnne Growney), https://poetrywithmathematics.blogspot.com/2020/02/counting-syllables-considering.html

(Jan. 2020). “**Statistical Poetry”. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 10 (1), 533-539.**

**h**ttps://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol10/iss1/29/

**.**Introductory remarks and these 8 poems: Systematic Sample from a Children’s Song. By Design. Stochastic Terrorism. Fail to Reject. Fast Facts. This Function Dysfunction. Multivariate. Worry Lines. [all 8 poems republished at CAUSEweb.org; the first and last of these poems are anthologized on p. 72 of Sarah Glaz (Ed.),

*Bridges 2020 Poetry Anthology;*“Multivariate” republished at https://mathhaikuproject.com/ and in my part of the 2021 Bridges Poetry Reading;” Stochastic Terrorism” selected for August 2020 exhibits “One Year Stronger: Remembering August 3” (UTEP) and “El Paso Even Stronger: One Year Later” (EPCC) and in my part of the 2021 Bridges Poetry Reading.

(Jan. 2020). “ASA Day”. **1st place** (non-student category) in ASA Day Haiku Contest (see p. 2 of Jan. 2020 *Amstat News* no. 511 or associated blogpost); republished at https://mathhaikuproject.com/

(December 2019). “Vertical”, *The Mathematical Intelligencer, 41 *(4), 60.

(summer 2019). “Di**/**vision”. *Teaching for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics*, *10 *(1), 16. [anthologized on p. 71 of Sarah Glaz (Ed.), *Bridges 2020 Poetry Anthology*; included in the opening minutes of episode 7 (10/2/2020) of Belinda Subraman’s poetry/art/music video zine GAS, https://youtu.be/ZGwadh-NKxs; selected by Albuquerque Poet Laureate Mary Oishi for inclusion in the 2021 National Endowment for the Arts ‘Big Read’ event hosted March 15, 2021 by the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library: https://www.las-cruces.org/2417/Big-Read-2021, (go to the 3:20 mark of the March 15 event at https://www.las-cruces.org/2425/Week-4-Healing-Remembrance-and-Return or https://www.facebook.com/BraniganLibrary/videos/915809659168987/ )

(June 2018). “Snowflake”. *The Mathematical Intelligencer, 40 *(2), 81. Republished 2/24/2020 at *Intersections: Poetry with Mathematics* (math poetry blog edited by JoAnne Growney).

(April 2018). “Mindful Means”. *Amstat News, no. 490*, p. 2. Republished 5/8/18 on Intersections: Poetry with Mathematics (math poetry blog edited by JoAnne Growney).

(Jan. 2018). trio of haikus on p. 456 of “Math in Seventeen Syllables: A Folder of Mathematical Haiku”, *Journal of Humanistic Mathematics*, *8 *(1), 441-472: “3/14/15” [announced 4/8/15 on Math Matters at Taylor and Francis social media as a **winner** of the 2015 Pi Day (of the Century) haiku contest],” 17″, and “Transformed”. republished at https://mathhaikuproject.com/ and the latter was in my part of the 2021 Bridges Poetry Reading.

(Dec. 2017). “A Fallacy Not Assessed by Kahneman and Tversky.” *The Mathematical Intelligencer, 39 *(4), 66.

(Nov. 2017). “Test for Normality”. *Radical Statistics*, no. 118, pp. 34-35.

(Oct. 2017). “Di(a)meter”. *Texas Mathematics Teacher*, *63 *(2), 14, 31 [poem and accompanying classroom questions and answers]. [anthologized on p. 60 of Sarah Glaz (Ed.), *Bridges 2018 Poetry Anthology*]

(April 2017). “Permutation”. CAUSEweb

(April 2017). “Rhyming without replacement”. CAUSEweb

(Jan. 2017). “**Moving Between Inner and Outer Worlds”. ***J. of Humanistic Mathematics, 7*(1), 275-284. https://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol7/iss1/21/ Introductory remarks and these** 10 poems**: Discovery. Business Statistics. Julia [republished 3/16/17 at* Intersections: Poetry with Mathematics* (math poetry blog edited by JoAnne Growney]. L’Hospital. The Zero. Availability Heuristic [republished Feb. 2017 by CAUSE]. Polymath Aftermath. *P*(A|A) = 1 [adapted and republished Feb. 2017 for CAUSEweb]. The Algebra Teacher Writes In Verse. Triangle.

(Dec. 2016). “Chi-ku” CAUSEweb. republished at https://mathhaikuproject.com/

(Spring 2016). “Margins”. *Talking Writing*. [anthologized in Sarah Glaz (Ed.), *Bridges 2016 Poetry Anthology* (p. 62). Phoenix, AZ: Tessellations Publishing.]

(2013; 2021). “Very Able to Know Each Variable”. CAUSEweb

(Jan. 2013). “**Poetic Reactions”. ***Journal of Humanistic Mathematics*, *3*(1), 156-161. http://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol3/iss1/13/ Postscript and these 3 poems: Dogs Know [read near the end of 4/13/13 interview on regional NPR station; anthologized in Sarah Glaz (Ed.), *Bridges 2016 Poetry Anthology* (p. 61). Phoenix, AZ: Tessellations Publishing, noted in a 2017 *JMA* review of this anthology, reprised in a 2019 blogpost, and cited in a 2020 blogpost]; 50-50; (A student comes to terms with) the ‘M word’ [republished 3/31/18 on Samuel Hansen’s podcast *Relatively Prime *(Diegetic Plots, Chapter 3)]

(Winter 2010). “Confounded” *The Mathematical Intelligencer, 32 *(4), 53. [republished p. 121 of fall 2019 *Teaching Statistics*]

(Nov. 2010). “May the door of this classroom….” *The Teaching Professor*, *24 *(9), 4. [republished 6/27/14 & 8/9/18 by *Faculty Focus*]

(2009). “Denominator.” *Journal of the Association of Mexican American Educators*, *3 *(1), 60-61. https://amaejournal.utsa.edu/index.php/AMAE/article/view/32/27

(2008). “Statistic Acrostic” [co-written with Dennis Pearl]; republished in 2014 in Intersections: Poetry with Mathematics (math poetry blog edited by JoAnne Growney)

*visual mathematics poems*:

(2021). “Cantor’s Ternary Palindrome”, pp. 42-43 of *Poetrishy** #1* published by Small Press and SuSy Research. [also appeared Nov. 20, 2017 entry in the *Mathematical Poetry* blog edited by Kaz Maslanka, and anthologized on p. 59 of Sarah Glaz (Ed.), *Bridges 2018 Poetry Anthology*]

(July 2021). “Mixed Messages About Pandemic Yield Conspiracy.” *Journal of Humanistic Mathematics*, *11*(2), 490-491. https://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol11/iss2/30/

(spring/summer 2021). “You Are Overdoin’ If You Cancel Everything“. *Texas Mathematics Teacher*, *67*(1), 20.

(fall/winter 2020). “Cardinality”. *Texas Mathematics Teacher*, *66 *(2), 30.

(fall/winter 2019). Unit Circle Words Lesson. Visual poem (with questions and answers). *Texas **Mathematics Teacher*, *65 *(2), 15, 22. [extended from Lesser’s Mathematical Poetry post]

(May 1, 2018). “Variation”. *Mathematical Poetry* (blog edited by Kaz Maslanka)

(Feb. 8, 2018). “Gender Identity”. *Mathematical Poetry* (blog edited by Kaz Maslanka)

(Sept. 2017). “New Normal”. *Radical Statistics*, no. 117, poem on the cover [accompanied by the reflection “New Normal?” on pp. 31-33]; poem reprised on cover of issue 118 as well

(Sept. 17, 2017). “Forebear Square”* Mathematical Poetry* (blog edited by Kaz Maslanka): [anthologized on p. 59 of Sarah Glaz (Ed.), *Bridges 2018 Poetry Anthology*]. On October 23, 2020, “Number Trapezoid” was added to the page.

(Aug. 4, 2017). “MEANings”. Mathematical Poetry (blog edited by Kaz Maslanka): [republished 7/9/18 on Intersections: Poetry with Mathematics (math poetry blog edited by JoAnne Growney): https://poetrywithmathematics.blogspot.com/2018/07/what-does-mean-mean.html ; republished in summer 2019 *CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, 66 *(3), 242.]

[*note *: Lesser’s poetry has also informed his published, award-winning songwriting and some of his 100 published math/statistics **lyrics** have poetic features (such as http://scholarship.claremont.edu/hmnj/vol1/iss19/13/ or http://scholarship.claremont.edu/hmnj/vol1/iss19/9/ or https://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol2/iss1/9/) and he has a 2014 article on lyrics in a special poetry focus issue of *Journal of Mathematics and the Arts]*

*18 non-STEM poems*

(Dec. 2021). “Hanukiah Haiku”. 3rd-place in contest sponsored by The Mussar Institute.

(March 2021). “One-Way Train”. [selected by Albuquerque Poet Laureate Mary Oishi for inclusion in a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts ‘Big Read’ event hosted on March 15, 2021 by the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library; go to the 3:20 mark of the March 15 event at https://www.las-cruces.org/2425/Week-4-Healing-Remembrance-and-Return or https://www.facebook.com/BraniganLibrary/videos/915809659168987/; it’s also the lyric of a song on the 2020 album *Sparks*]

(Dec. 2020). “Passover Hangover.” http://www.mywordwizard.com/passover-hangover.html

(Dec. 2019). “The Situation.” In Michal Mahgerefteh & David King (Eds.), *2019 Mizmor Poetry Anthology*, p. 34. Norfolk, VA: Poetica Publishing. https://www.instagram.com/p/Cd9tk_jDf0n/

(Summer 2014). “Sweet”. *Poetica** Magazine: Contemporary Jewish Writing,* pp. 42-43.

(Fall 2013). “Hypothesis”. *BorderSenses** Literary Magazine, *No. 19, pp. 66-67.

(Summer 2012). “Last Supper.” *BorderSenses** Literary Magazine, *No. 18, p. 38.

(May 2012). “Learning”. *Drash**: Northwest Mosaic*, *6*, pp. 64-65.

(Fall 2010). “Test.” *R*í*o Grande Review: A Bilingual Journal of Contemporary Literature and Arts*, No. 36, 89-90.

(July 2010). “Logic”. *BorderSenses** Literary Magazine, *No. 16, p. 21

(Summer 2008). “Arrangement”. *BorderSenses** Literary Magazine, *No. 14, pp. 103-104.

(Summer 2007). “Leaving White’s City”. *BorderSenses** Literary Magazine, *No. 13, pp. 80-81.

(Spring 2006). “Wheel”. *BorderSenses** Literary Magazine*, No. 11, pp. 34-35.

(Fall 2005). “Burp”. *BorderSenses Literary Magazine *[a 2-nation, 11-state journal], No. 10, 81-82.

(2005). “Shrink Rap”. *The Ink Spot: Highlights of the Ink Poetry Contest 2005*, p. 18. Las Cruces, NM: The Ink. **third-place** award.

(2005). “Something to Remember”. *The Ink Spot: Highlights of the Ink Poetry Contest 2005*, p. 26. Las Cruces, NM: The Ink.

(April 1986). “When in Rome”. *University Blue, *vol. 3 (p. 29). Houston: Rice University.