Abstract / Synopsis
As my technical life diminishes, my writing life increases. Since 2017 I have been writing, first a memoir of my time in the Intelligence Community, then poetry and flash fiction.
One of the missions I have assigned to my poetry is to expose to `regular' people the inner life of the mathematical person. The poems in this poetry folder develop three themes. "Formulations'' pokes a bit of fun at the bloated (and in this case almost musical) titles that can grow from our research; more seriously, it documents the change in self-definition that flows from recognizing the inevitable drift away from high-intensity math as we age. "Least Lower Bound'' is a bit of an exaggeration of the way we can develop the habit of translating important life events into the sometimes stilted and overelaborate language we use in our technical work. It also illustrates how deeply we can come to use that language to translate the world to ourselves. "Academic Inquiry'' is the first of several poems I have written about the massive role that teaching has played in my life. If this poem were a wine, a reviewer might say it combines "notes of yearning, pride, and challenge with a finish of wry resignation''.
Thomas R. Willemain, "A Life of Equations Shifting to a Life of Words," Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, Volume 9 Issue 2 (July 2019), pages 329-332. DOI: 10.5642/jhummath.201902.23. Available at: https://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol9/iss2/23