square root of time (2017)

published by ethos books
36 pages


madeleine lee’s ninth volume of poetry, square root of time, fuses financial mathematical concepts with poetic responses to life experiences to form a long multi-part poem based ostensibly on risk terminology. using mathematical principles and concepts, the volume explores relationships of the non-mathematical sort.

foreword by madeleine lee

i have been fascinated by mathematics since young.

the mathematical principles laid down by early scholars like euclid and pythagoras were observations of natural laws. in this sense, math is complete unto itself. to me that is very, very beautiful.

the part of the mathematical discipline called statistics is sometimes looked down upon by purists as applied math, and a rather low brow one by the snobs in the quantum math department.

in fact, it is as much an observation of natural occurrences and can be analysed to enhance predictions of future behaviour of the same data group. in finance this is termed risk management.

i was attending a geeky risk management conference when i was reminded of the term ‘square root of time’. this triggered a rather poetic response, as if that wasn’t poetry enough in itself. further joining of more lateral dots gave rise to an entire arc for a long multi-part poem based ostensibly on risk terminology–so much for paying attention at conferences. the piece itself took another 18 months to complete.

it isn’t about math really. it is about relationships of the non-mathematical sort.


publisher’s website

interview about the poem

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