Poetry Contest Posted on March 12th, 2008 by

To celebrate April being both Math Awareness Month and Poetry Month, the Gustavus Mathematics and Computer Science Department invites all Gustavus students to participate in a poetry contest with the opportunity to win a $50 prize and public recognition. Submissions are due by April 10, 2008, and the winner will be announced May 1st.

Each submission should be a Fibonacci poem, which means that the number of syllables in each line should follow the Fibonacci sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13. (Each line after the first two contains as many syllables as the two lines before it put together.) In theory, a poem could continue beyond the 13-syllable line, but this is not recommended.

The goal isn’t just to count syllables, but to write good poetry. For some exemplary Fibonacci poems, Athena Kildegaard has allowed me to provide three of her poems to inspire you.

Submissions will be judged for merit by three experts from the Gustavus English Department: Joyce Sutphen, Philip Bryant, and Matthew Rasmussen. Each judge will rate each poem on a five-point scale. The sum of these scores (which could be as much as 15) will provide the bulk of the total points, although each poem will also be eligible for up to 3 bonus points for content.

Bonus points will be awarded based on this year’s theme for Math Awareness Month: the mathematics of voting. Poems that refer to mathematics or voting, but not both, will be awarded 1 bonus point. Poems that refer to both mathematics and voting, but not specifically the mathematics of voting, will be awarded 2 bonus points. Poems that refer to the mathematics of voting will be awarded 3 bonus points.

The three highest-scoring poems will be read at 7pm on May 1st in OHS 103, preceding the lecture by Francis Su on Voting in Agreeable Societies. The authors of these poems will be invited to attend and read their own poems; if they are unavailable, someone else will read for them. The winner will then be congratulated and presented with a $50 gift card for the Book Mark. The winning poem will also be posted to the MCS Blog.

All judges’ decisions are final. Only one poem may be submitted by each Gustavus student. By submitting a poem, you are agreeing that if it is a finalist, it can be publicly read and posted as described above. You retain the copyright and may publish the poem in any other way.

To submit a poem, send it by email to max@gustavus.edu by April 10th.



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  2. […] Su’s lecture this evening the three finalists in the Fibonacci poetry contest read their poems.  Below is the winning poem, followed by the two other […]