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How to Write a Pi Poem

April 30, 2014


How to Write a Pi Poem


On a terribly rainy day near the end of National Poetry Month, what does a writer do? I jumped into crafting a pi poem (also known as a piem). Although I have never been known for my math skills, I embraced my inner mathematician and found the multitude of numbers past the decimal point for pi (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter). I went well beyond the simple 3.14 so that I could write a lengthier piem . On April 25, on a WUWM-FM radio broadcast of the program Lake Effect, I heard a poet mention this format for writing a poem. I was inspired and wanted to take on the challenge. Simply, for each line one wishes to write, the poet incorporates the number of syllables according to each numeral of pi. Thus, the first line of a piem contains three syllables while the second line has only one syllable; the third line is a count of four syllables, and the fourth line includes one syllable. If you choose to take on such a poetic challenge, you may make the pi poem as short or as long as you like; additionally, you may determine the rhyme scheme (or lack thereof). In my example which follows, I used the whole number three and then twenty-two numbers past the decimal point for my pi poem of twenty-three lines. The number of syllables for each line of my sample poem is based on 3.1415926535897932384626.



Poetry Pi for a Literary Luncheon


By Alice Jane-Marie Massa



How do you


Poetry pi?



You cut it into

Lines, stanzas, verses, meter, or rhyme?


Do you

Slice the pi into words?


The nice, honored guests

At our next

Literary lunch

Will bring mango, lemon meringue,

Cherry, chocolate cream, strawberry,

Huckleberry, gooseberry—

But I will bring the poetry pi.


With a plume,

I will

Cut the pi,

With metaphoric math in mind,

Into garnished,

Savory similes

To tempt

Each writers’ taste and pen.



Booknote: During this National Poetry Month, I have been re-reading The Poets Laureate Anthology—a collection of poems with notes about each poet laureate of the United States. Edited by Elizabeth Hun Schmidt and copyrighted in 2010, this 746-page book includes a wonderful foreword by poet laureate Billy Collins. (For those who order or download books from the National Library Service Talking Book Program, DB 71927 is superbly narrated by Andy Pyle.)


With best wishes for a merry month of May,



April 30, 2014, Wednesday



From → Uncategorized

  1. Thank you, Alice, for sharing this. It could be an interesting challenge.

  2. Carole permalink

    Alice, this was very interesting, quite unique, and fun to read! I love your creativity!

  3. And a Happy Month of May to you too! Great Pie. Very tasty indeed.


  4. This makes me wonder if I want to bake our mother’s delicious chocolate meringue pie or try to write a Pi Poem about butterflies with my preschool students.
    Love, Mary

    • Mary–If a butterfly pi poem spreads its wings, I hope it will land on a comment button on my blog. A & Z

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