the “Poet Larry-ate” side of…


Award-winning educator Larry Lesser is also an award-winning songwriter and poet.  Two decades after taking an upper-division poetry seminar from Susan Wood, he was inspired to resume writing poetry after moving to El Paso in 2004.  Most of his published poetry (below) connects to mathematics, statistics, or the teaching and learning of such content, and some poems have been performed at (inter)national meetings or on radio (e.g., interview on a regional NPR station). He has co-organized (with Gizem Karaali and Douglas Norton) evenings of mathematical poetry/art at recent national conferences (e.g., 201520162017 Joint Mathematics Meetings). His STEM-related poems/songs are part of his overall efforts (some funded by NSF) to humanize STEM, reduce anxiety, and support student learning and he recently gave a UTEP lecture/reading/performance on mathematical poetry sponsored by UTEP’s Dept. of Creative Writing, Dept. of Mathematical Sciences, and the Interdisciplinary Research Program.

29 math/statistics/education poems

(expected 2018; in press). Snowflake. The Mathematical Intelligencer

(Dec. 2017). A Fallacy Not Assessed by Kahneman and Tversky. The Mathematical Intelligencer, 39(4),


(Nov. 2017). Test for Normality. Radical Statistics, no. 118, pp. 34-35; issue to be posted at

(Nov. 20, 2017). Cantor's Ternary Palindrome. Mathematical Poetry (blog edited by Kaz Maslanka):

(Oct. 2017). Diameter. Texas Mathematics Teacher, 63(2), 14, 31. [poem and accompanying classroom

questions and answers]

(Sept. 17, 2017). Forebear Square. Mathematical Poetry (blog edited by Kaz Maslanka):

(Sept. 2017). New Normal. Radical Statistics, no. 117, poem on the cover [accompanied by the

reflection “New Normal?” on pp. 31-33]; issue to be posted at; poem reprised on cover of issue 118 as well

(Aug. 4, 2017). MEANings. Mathematical Poetry (blog edited by Kaz Maslanka):

(April 2017). Permutation.

(April 2017). Rhyming without replacement.


(Jan. 2017). Moving Between Inner and Outer Worlds. J. of Humanistic Mathematics, 7(1), 275-284.   Introductory remarks and these 10 poems:

Discovery. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 7(1), 276.

Business Statistics. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 7(1), 277.

Julia. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 7(1), 278.

[republished 3/16/17 on JoAnne Growney’s math poetry blog: ]

L'HospitalJournal of Humanistic Mathematics, 7(1), 279.

The Zero. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 7(1), 280.

Availability Heuristic. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 7(1), 281.

[Availability Heuristic republished Feb. 2017 by CAUSE]

Polymath Aftermath. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 7(1), 282.

P(A|A) = 1Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 7(1), 283.

[P(A|A)=1 adapted and republished Feb. 2017 by CAUSE]

The Algebra Teacher Writes In VerseJournal of Humanistic Mathematics, 7(1), 283.  

TriangleJournal of Humanistic Mathematics, 7(1), 284.


(2016). Chi-ku.

(Spring 2016). Margins. Talking Writing.

[anthologized in Sarah Glaz (Ed.), Bridges 2016 Poetry Anthology (p. 62). Phoenix, AZ: Tessellations Publishing.]


(Jan. 2013). Poetic Reactions. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 3(1), 156-161.  Postscript and these 3 poems:

Dogs Know. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 3(1), 156.

[“Dogs Know” was read near the end of 4/13/13 interview on regional NPR station,

anthologized in Sarah Glaz (Ed.), Bridges 2016 Poetry Anthology (p. 61). Phoenix, AZ: Tessellations Publishing, and noted in a 2017 JMA review of this anthology]

50-50. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 3(1), 157.

(A student comes to terms with) the ‘M word’….  Journal of Humanistic Mathematics,

3(1), 158-159.


(Winter 2010). Confounded. The Mathematical Intelligencer, 32(4), 53.


(Nov. 2010). May the door of this classroom…. The Teaching Professor, 24(9), 4.

                [republished 6/27/14: ]

(2009). Denominator. Journal of the Association of Mexican American Educators, 3(1), 60-61.

(2008). Statistic Acrostic [co-written with Dennis Pearl] 

[republished in 2014 in JoAnne Growney’s blog at]


[note: some of Lesser’s 75 published math/statistics lyrics have some poetic features (such as or and

Lesser had an article on lyrics in a special poetry focus issue of Journal of Mathematics and the Arts]


13 other poems


(Summer 2014). Sweet. Poetica Magazine: Contemporary Jewish Writing, pp. 42-43.

(Fall 2013). Hypothesis. BorderSenses Literary Magazine, No. 19, pp. 66-67.

(Summer 2012). Last Supper. BorderSenses Literary Magazine, No. 18, p. 38.

(May 2012).  Learning. Drash: Northwest Mosaic, 6, pp. 64-65. 

(Fall 2010). Test. Río Grande Review: A Bilingual Journal of Contemporary Literature and Arts,

No. 36, 89-90.

(July 2010). Logic. BorderSenses Literary Magazine, No. 16, p. 21

(Summer 2008). Arrangement. BorderSenses Literary Magazine, No. 14, pp. 103-104.

(Summer 2007). Leaving White’s City. BorderSenses Literary Magazine, No. 13, pp. 80-81.

(Spring 2006). Wheel. BorderSenses Literary Magazine, No. 11, pp. 34-35.

(Fall 2005). Burp. BorderSenses Literary Magazine [a 2-nation, 11-state journal], No. 10, 81-82. 

(2005). Shrink Rap. The Ink Spot: Highlights of the Ink Poetry Contest 2005, p. 18. Las Cruces,

NM: The Ink. 3rd-place-award.

(2005). Something to Remember. The Ink Spot: Highlights of the Ink Poetry Contest 2005, p. 26.

Las Cruces, NM: The Ink.

(April 1986). When in Rome. University Blue, vol. 3 (p. 29). Houston: Rice University.