Sunday, 10 May 2020

Poems from the Backroom 56: Eveline Pye

You won't find this fact in many biographies, but Eveline Pye used to be part of the Dumfries Beatnik Poetry Scene and I am delighted to claim a very tiny role in her development as a poet. It must be a coincidence but since leaving Dumfries, Eveline has established an international reputation, using mathematical and scientific background as a springboard and inspiration for her verse.

She worked as an operational research analyst in Zambia, in the Copper Industry, on plant and underground, designing experiments, writing computer programs.  After returning to Scotland she taught mathematics at Glasgow Caledonian University for 22 years. She is the only poet ever to be published in 'Significance', the joint magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Society and was an invited poet at Bridges Conferences on mathematical poetry in Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, USA and Canada.

Her collection, 'Smoke That Thunders', was published by Mariscat Press in 2015 and, from it, the poem 'Mosi-Oa-Tunya' was chosen for the 20 Best Scottish Poems of that year. Her second pamphlet, 'STEAM' is due to be published- after the virus- by Red Squirrel and features poems on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the STEM subjects.

Here Eveline reads the poem 'Mosi-oa-Tunya' from the collection named after that poem, 'Smoke that Thunders'.

Her profile on the SPL Website and some poems:

Three Poems on the 'Talking Writing' Site:

Love of Algebra

She says, “You know how you get it
and then you forget it”, and I smile,
nod – but really, I don’t –
can’t even imagine. How does
the dancer forget dancing,
the singer forget singing? How could
I ever not know how to solve
simultaneous equations?
It would be like forgetting
how to breathe or laugh or love.
You’d have to dissect my brain
scour out layer after layer of tissue
with steel wool, and even then
if you left me one tiny cell,
the knowledge would grow back,~
and if you were to succeed,
to wipe out every trace,
I’d be a lost soul.
I’d never give up. I’d chew on my pencil
night and day to recapture that feeling,
that moment when I grasped the life line.

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