“… as symbols play in pure sound’s bright
flare. White-hot words ignite
a sharp savor, the bite, the risk,
an ordinate of bliss.
– from "Ars Parabola", in the poetry collection Manifold: poetry of mathematics,
first published in Welter Literary Journal, Volume 55 spring 2021
Manifold: poetry of mathematics
Book available at:
Comments on Manifold:
E. R. Lutken’s poems whir and spark with mathematical equations and signage paired with linguistic leaps and the facts of “irrational loss.” Hers is a story of pairings in which “trapped on planes, circles and lines find each other” and “tangled parallel lines meet.” In which language mimics or is “sift sets, jetsam of matter” spelled out in forms from clerihews to Keats-ghosted sonnets. These poems evidence a bold and “frabjous” spirit. As her speaker cheerily confides: “Somewhere I heard there might be new revelations about thermodynamics…Particles in my brain get hot just thinking about it.” Sawnie Morris – author, Her, Infinite
We are finite but can dream of infinity; we are flawed but can glimpse perfection. Wry, poignant, and funny, E. R. Lutken’s poems show us that mathematics—like human beings, with our partly-patterned lives—is both earthy and celestial. A delight.
Cris Moore – faculty Santa Fe Institute –with NM PBS, The Majesty of Music and Math
If Poetry uses word play to express the deeper realities of life and if Mathematics uses number play to reveal the deeper realities in the universe of number, then it is not surprising that on some deep level the two have an intimate connection and the one can serve as a source of inspiration for the other. This insight motivated E. R. Lutken to craft a collection of poems that are wonderfully inspired, derived from underlying mathematical themes and results. As a mathematician I personally found the poems intriguing and insightful especially as they unite two seemly diverse yet, upon reflection, very creative disciplines. E. R. Lutken’s work demonstrates that mathematics can provide an entrée into the beauty and creativity of poetry and conversely, that poetry can provide an entrée into the wonder of mathematics.
Brian Shelburne – Professor Emeritus Mathematics and Computer Science, Wittenberg University