Poet (Larry-ate)

Moving to El Paso in 2004, two decades after his upper-division poetry seminar from Susan Wood, inspired Lesser to resume writing poetry.  Most of his published poetry (below) connects to mathematics, statistics, or the teaching and learning of such content, and some poems have been anthologized, given awards, or read at conferences (e.g., this or this), podcast, or radio interview. He has organized (with Gizem Karaali and Douglas Nortonevenings of mathematical poetry/art at recent national conferences (e.g., 2015201620172019, 2020 Joint Mathematics Meetings, with printed programs) and judged (with Gizem Karaali and JoAnne Growney) the first AMS student poetry contests in 2019 and 2020. His STEM-related poems/songs are part of his overall efforts (some funded by NSF) to humanize STEM, reduce anxiety, and support student learning and he gave a lecture/reading/performance at UTEP sponsored by UTEP’s Dept. of Creative Writing, Dept. of Mathematical Sciences, and the ORSP Interdisciplinary Research Program.

48 STEM/education poems

(summer 2020). The Point of Inflection. Radical Statistics, no. 126, p. 74.  https://www.radstats.org.uk/no126/Lesser126.pdf (reprinted with slight edit on p. 16 of the Vol. 11, no. 2 issue of Teaching for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics, summer 2020; excerpted 8/3/2020 on JoAnne Growney’s blog at https://poetrywithmathematics.blogspot.com/2020/08/point-of-inflection-and-coronavirus.html)

(Feb. 2020). 2019. https://poetrywithmathematics.blogspot.com/2020/02/counting-syllables-considering.html

(Jan. 2020). Statistical Poetry. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 10 (1), 533-539. https://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 “Stochastic Terrorism” was selected for the August 2020 exhibits “One Year Stronger: Remembering August 3” (UTEP) and “El Paso Even Stronger: One Year Later” (EPCC).

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

(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]

(summer 2019). Di/vision. Teaching for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics10 (1), 16. [anthologized on p. 71 of Sarah Glaz (Ed.), Bridges 2020 Poetry Anthology]

(published online April 2019; in print November 2019). Vertical, The Mathematical Intelligencer, 41 (4), 60.

(June 2018). SnowflakeThe Mathematical Intelligencer, 40 (2), 81. [republished 2/24/2020 at Intersections: Poetry with Mathematics (math poetry blog edited by JoAnne Growney)]

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

(April 2018). Mindful MeansAmstat News, no. 490, p. 2 [republished 5/8/18 on Intersections: Poetry with Mathematics (math poetry blog edited by JoAnne Growney)]

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

(Jan. 2018).  trio of haikus on p. 456 of “Math in Seventeen Syllables: A Folder of Mathematical Haiku”, Journal of Humanistic Mathematics8 (1), 441-472:  “3/14/15″ [was announced on 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/

(Dec. 2017). A Fallacy Not Assessed by Kahneman and TverskyThe Mathematical Intelligencer, 39 (4), 66.

(Nov. 2017). Test for NormalityRadical Statisticsno. 118, pp. 34-35.

(Nov. 20, 2017). Cantor’s Ternary Palindrome. Mathematical Poetry (blog edited by Kaz Maslanka): [anthologized on p. 59 of Sarah Glaz (Ed.), Bridges 2018 Poetry Anthology]

(Oct. 2017). DiameterTexas Mathematics Teacher63 (2), 14, 31 [poem and accompanying classroom questions and answers].  [anthologized on p. 60 of Sarah Glaz (Ed.), Bridges 2018 Poetry Anthology]

(Sept. 17, 2017). Forebear Square. Mathematical Poetry (blog edited by Kaz Maslanka): [anthologized on p. 59 of Sarah Glaz (Ed.), Bridges 2018 Poetry Anthology]

​(Sept. 2017). New NormalRadical Statisticsno. 117, poem on the cover [accompanied by the reflection “New Normal?” on pp. 31-33]; poem reprised on cover of issue 118 as well

(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.]

(April 2017). Permutation. CAUSEweb

(April 2017). Rhyming without replacement. CAUSEweb

(Jan. 2017). Moving Between Inner and Outer WorldsJ. of Humanistic Mathematics, 7(1), 275-284. 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.

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

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

(Jan. 2013). Poetic ReactionsJournal of Humanistic Mathematics3(1), 156-161.  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’ [republished3/31/18 on Samuel Hansen’s podcast Relatively Prime (Diegetic Plots, Chapter 3)]

(Winter 2010). ConfoundedThe Mathematical Intelligencer, 32 (4), 53. [republished in fall 2019 Teaching Statistics]

(Nov. 2010). May the door of this classroom…. The Teaching Professor24 (9), 4. [republished 6/27/14 & 8/9/18 at Faculty Focus]

(2009). DenominatorJournal of the Association of Mexican American Educators3 (1), 60-61.

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

[note: some of Lesser’s 95+ published math/statistics lyrics have some poetic features (such as http://scholarship.claremont.edu/hmnj/vol1/iss19/13/ or http://scholarship.claremont.edu/hmnj/vol1/iss19/9/) and Lesser had an article on lyrics in a special poetry focus issue of Journal of Mathematics and the Arts]

15 other poems

(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

(December 2019). The Situation. In Michal Mahgerefteh & David King (Eds.), 2019 Mizmor Poetry Anthology, p. 34. Norfolk, VA: Poetica Publishing.

(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 Mosaic6, pp. 64-65.

(Fall 2010). Test. Río 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.