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Fibs - Fibonacci-based Poetry 276

Gregory K. writes "April is National Poetry Month (and, it turns out, Math Awareness Month), and on my blog, I decided to get people writing poetry based on the Fibonacci sequence. The poems are six lines, 20 syllables long with the syllable pattern 1/1/2/3/5/8, though they can go longer, obviously. I've been calling 'em Fibs, and people have been writing them on pop culture, politics, math, and more."
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Fibs - Fibonacci-based Poetry

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  • First Post! (Score:5, Funny)

    by afaik_ianal ( 918433 ) * on Friday April 07, 2006 @03:18AM (#15082583)
    I bet
    can beat me to it
    with a Fibonacci poem!
  • Seen elsewhere... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Skreems ( 598317 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @03:25AM (#15082601) Homepage
    Not to take away from this poster's message, but this has been done elsewhere as well. The lyrics to Tool's song "Lateralus" are written in Fibonacci rhythm (I think up to 13).
    • See also MC Paul Barman []'s Paullelujah! album.
    • Re:Seen elsewhere... (Score:5, Informative)

      by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Friday April 07, 2006 @03:59AM (#15082698) Homepage
      Tool is rather late on the bandwagon. The composer Sofia Gubaidulina [] made wide use of the Fibbonaci sequence in the 1980s, happy to find a way of systemization that still allowed the form to "breathe". Her 1986 symphony "Stimmen... Verstummen... []" is a notable example: the length of its movements grow ever shorter according to the sequence. In the 9th movement is a conductor's "solo", where he motions before a silent orchestra, the distance between his hands growing ever larger according to the sequence. In the 1990s she began using the Lucas and Evanglist series as well, whose aesthetic imperfection alongside the divine harmony of the Fibonacci sequence makes tantalizing listening. See V. Tsenova's thesis Zahlenmystik in der Music von Sofia Gubaidulina [] for a musicological analysis.

      That's only one example. Per Norgard [] may be mentioned as well, his third symphony abounds in Golden Section references. And, as others is well known, Bartok used the sequence heavily in his work.

    • For You Tool Fans (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ras_b ( 193300 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @09:09AM (#15083447)
      I copied the following directly from this website [] which has an interesting analysis of tool's lateralus album.
      There's a Fibonacci in Maynard's lyrics, specifically the syllables:

        black [1]
        then [1]
        white are [2]
        all I see [3]
        in my infancy [5]
        red and yellow then came to be [8]
        reaching out to me [5]
        lets me see [3]
        there is [2]
        so [1]
        much [1]
        more and [2]
        beckons me [3]
        to look through to these [5]
        infinite possibilities [8]
        as below so above and beyond I imagine [13]
        drawn outside the lines of reason [8]
        push the envelope [5]
        watch it bend [3]

        I suppose it's not actually a true Fibonacci, since it does reverse itself.
      • I was working on this as well untill I got to the following lyrics:
        Over thinking, over analyzing separates the body from the mind.
        Withering my intuition, missing opportunities and I must
        Feed my will to feel my moment drawing way outside the lines.
        I decided I may have been missing the point of the song.
  • by under_score ( 65824 ) <{moc.gietreb} {ta} {nikhsim}> on Friday April 07, 2006 @03:33AM (#15082625) Homepage
    Some of the Fibs in the comments are astounding. So what about Prime's
    A short
    Poem with
    Prime syllables is
    Just as beautiful as the
    Fib. But don't hold your breath for more in this one!
    ... or pi's
    I eat pie
    It's my favorite.
  • by Perdo ( 151843 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @03:39AM (#15082639) Homepage Journal
    tee pee
    colon slash slash
    slash dot dot org poem

    For The
    Beowulf Hot
    Natalie Grits Goatse
    Signal Eleven Penis Bird
  • Poem (Score:5, Funny)

    by neoshroom ( 324937 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @03:45AM (#15082654)
    My head,
    Quake with pain.
    Writing a poem based
    On Fibonacci does the same.
  • Damn (Score:5, Funny)

    by abscissa ( 136568 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @03:50AM (#15082671)
    Will be
    Tough for the
    Mods, if they count all
    the syllables in every post!
  • Fibonacci (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zog The Undeniable ( 632031 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @03:57AM (#15082690)
    Know That
    The Sequence
    Described The Humping Of Rabbits?
    • Respect, you just made my morning :)
  • to 21 (Score:3, Funny)

    by fithmo ( 854772 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @03:58AM (#15082693)

    compile mother bitch
    and something about the seasons
    no, wait, i am probably thinking about haiku
    damn this package! it has me all confused to the point that i can't even write a poem.

  • It is obligatory at this point to mention that the band Tool (very heavy, but not simple music) used this technique in the song Lateralus [].
    • Re:Tool - Lateralus (Score:2, Informative)

      by CRCulver ( 715279 )
      Tool's music is mind-numbingly simplistic compared to the art music composers who have used the Fibonacci sequence in their work (Gubaidulina, Xenakis, Bartok, Norgard, etc.). Tool's music sticks to rock rhythms and chord structures, doesn't use all twelve tones of the chromatic scale as has been encouraged since Schoenberg, and uses the same limited instrumentation as most rock (Carey's versatile drum kit doesn't compensate for the same-old same-oldness of the rest of the band).
      • "doesn't use all twelve tones of the chromatic scale as has been encouraged since Schoenberg"

        But on the other hand, I actually enjoy listening to Tool.
      • Re:Tool - Lateralus (Score:2, Informative)

        by gameforge ( 965493 )
        Tool's music sticks to rock rhythms

        Actually, that's not entirely accurate... I really don't like Tool much at all, but one thing I found unique about them was that a lot of their songs don't use the traditional 4/4 (drumBASSdrumBASSdrumBASS) type rhythm. Don't they have some tunes in 9/8?

        Considering just about every rock song that comes out anymore sounds exactly like every other, a break from the 4/4 rock beat is noteworthy. Of course, all of my exposure to Tool at all comes from years ago...
        • Tool does thigns like this, but this kind of non-traditional rock began years ago when the "progressive rock" genre began. And so do millions of other independent artists. A lot of popular rock songs are in 3/4, the Mission Impossible theme is in 5/4, etc.

          There's an entire genre called "math rock" that does exactly this - makes music in weird time signatures on purpose. Most recently, Mars Volta does things like this. Some times it sounds good (Dismemberment Plan, usually) and other times it's just ridiculo
        • Actually, they go beyond running with *a* time signature on several songs, where they will often split the band members into two seperate time signatures running at the same time, which gives a really nice reoccurring point where the whole band comes together on a beat when the signatures match up, then seperate and match back up again...

          Like them or not, they are playing with music in a way very few other bands that have achieved any measure of popular success have. Definitely worthy of a little respect.
      • You know, I didn't start this thread in order to say "Tool is teh best band evar!!1!" because well, they aren't. Some of the rhythms are really nice, but I have to be in the mood to listen to it.

        All I wished to point out is that this is a good prior example of Fibonacci numbers used this way. Thanks for your other examples, it's a pity that you didn't expand on how they used Fibonacci numbers, and chose to whinge instead.
  • OH boy, I can see a law suit here from the First Internet Backgammon Server guys! Although as long as The fibonacci guys stay away from music they'll be fine... oh wait....
  • by gihan_ripper ( 785510 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @04:41AM (#15082801) Homepage
    01 It
    01 is
    02 really
    03 not taxing
    05 to create a Fib,
    08 but still they are interesting
    13 sequences of numbers. We are familiar with
    21 the 'rabbit generation' origins of the sequence, but it can also describe
    34 the number of petals on a flower, or the number of curves on a sunflower head, on a pineapple, or even on a pinecone.
  • by BinaryOpty ( 736955 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @05:12AM (#15082861)
    Before anyone else does a "OMG Tool did it first!!" and then someone responds to them with "No, [insert older reference here] did it first!", the blog author acknowledges this in his post (linked to in the first, longer link). I quote:
    and, as much as I'd like to say I invented a new form of poetry, these sequences have been part of various poetic structures since before Fibonacci's time.
    As such, now anyone who brings up the Tool/etc thing in such a way that they're implying the blog author is claiming credit for inventing this can be marked a troll.
  • Hey!
    Most fibs
    I have seen
    are about the fibs.
  • Fibspam (Score:2, Funny)

    by EmagGeek ( 574360 )
    Call Now
    We're Waiting
    Do Not Hesitate
    Lincoln Building Tether Pineapple Goat
  • Roses are
    Are plastic.
    Disco is
    But this poem is

    Tom Caudron []
  • Palindrome version (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chapter80 ( 926879 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @07:19AM (#15083101)
    Palindrome version. (It's early, best I could do...)

    It's fib,
    version A.
    Edit idea...
    No! Is rev B, if still a dog.

  • by mrogers ( 85392 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @07:28AM (#15083125)
    Unfortunately no matter what the subject matter, the poems sound like they're being spoken by a superhero through gritted teeth.

    Got to get...
    back to my haikus!
    So many syllables... wasted!

  • I personally rejected it for a few reasons:

    1. Starting with one-, two-, and three-syllable lines leaves the stanza generally sounding forced.
    2. Once you get to 21-syllable lines, you've generally reached the limits of absurdity within good taste.

    That leaves you with lines of 5, 8, and 13 syllables, and perhaps 3 or 21, if the circumstances are right. That just isn't as interesting as it initially looked.

    That said, perhaps I should RTFP now, to actuallly see how well the writer got it to work.
  • Bush
    that the
    weapons of
    mass distruction in
    Iraq posed an imminent threat.
  • Once.
    Three times.
    Three and five make eight.
    Eight and five will make eleven.
    Eleven and eight will make number nineteen.

    © Frightened_Turtle 2006

    • Eight and five will make eleven.

    • I gone done reel gud on my vurbil STA! My math scor wuz eevin all most az gud!

      Ah, well! So much for my moment of fame! I guess I should have taken off my shoes when I started getting over 10... :P

      Thanks for catching it guys! It would have been weeks before I noticed. :-D

      Here's the corrected version:

      Three times.
      Three and five make eight.
      Then eight and five will make thirteen.
      Thirteen and eight gets twenty-one.
      On and on we go, counting every syllable hoping that the count will be correct

  • Conformity (Score:4, Funny)

    by Limbo Socrates ( 923585 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @09:09AM (#15083451)
    Makes me wince.
    Perhaps I should try...
    Running around naked with my hair on fire screaming, "ANARCHY! ANARCHY! Take that Fibonacci, you wiper of other peoples bottoms! go away and I shall taunt you no more!"
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @09:16AM (#15083486) Homepage Journal
    For example, consider the famous poem "The Tiger" by William Blake:

    TIGER, tiger, burning bright
    In the forests of the night,
    What immortal hand or eye
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

    If you read this alound (or at least subvocalize), you'll see a patern, and patterns in my opinion are quintessentially mathematical:

    TIGer/TIGer/BURNing/BRIGHT */
    IN the / FORests /OF the /NIGHT */
    WHAT im/MORtal / HAND or/ EYE */
    could FRAME / thy FEAR/ful SYM/meTRY?

    What makes this pattern interesting is not what it is, but what it is not. It's like you can hear a quantum entanglement with the poem it is not, but easily might have been. A lesser poet would have written: "TIGer, TIGer, BURNing BRIGHTly", which would be a metrical form called "trochaic quadrameter". A trochee is a two syllbale unit (or "foot") with stress on the first syllable (like this: dah DUM), as opposed to an iamb which stressed the second (va VOOM).
    Hiwawatha is an example of trochaic quadrameter:

    By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
    By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
    Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
    Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.

    Four footed forms are very solid and predictable, but are seldom chosen by profesional poets because they quickly become monotonous and susceptible to parody, as in this excerpt of a Geroge Strong's lampoon of Hiawatha:

    He killed the noble Mudjokivis.
    Of the skin he made him mittens,
    Made them with the fur side inside,
    Made them with the skin side outside.
    He, to get the warm side inside,
    Put the inside skin side outside.
    He, to get the cold side outside,
    Put the warm side fur side inside.
    That's why he put the fur side inside,
    Why he put the skin side outside,
    Why he turned them inside outside.

    Tiger's unusual and broken meter gives it a haunting feeling (haunted by the missing syllables?) that fits its subject perfectly.

    Getting to the subject of the article, efforts like this are often successful at getting people who are interested in poetry to try their hands at it. I think in part because it's so easy to be write bad poetry, it's helpful to have the safety net of a highy arbitrary form to fall back on: after all, what can you expect given the restrictions? The 5-7-5 structure of Haiku is also popular for the same purposes and reasons.

    I wonder whether a similar effort could be made using patterns in scansion, like in "Tiger". Maybe you could create a set of rules encoding messages in stress and rhyme, and then set out a task to "encrypt" a message as verse.
  • Hi
    Click Here
    Penis Enlargement
    Satisfy your woman tonight
  • 1: Love. 1: Hate. 2: Love hate. 3: Hate love hate. 5: Love hate hate love hate. 8: Hate love hate love hate hate love hate. 13: Love hate hate love hate hate love hate love hate hate love hate. Why just add syllables when you can add entire lines?
  • This \
    is \
    going \
    to spiral \
    way out of control \
    I can see the disaster now \
    Websites, blogs, podcasts, and wikipedia entries \
    All written in Fibonacci sequences, getting longer and longer as they go... \
  • In soviet Russia fibs poem always write you!
  • Win
    Religions ;)
    Emacs beats vi
  • Fib


    Makes one

    Sound just like

    A Captain Kirk speech.

  • Hey!
    Yeah, you.
    With the face!
    What you lookin' at?
    Gonna break my foot up yer ass!
  • Me


    Mod me down

    Not up for this fib

    Karma can't lie, I am a troll

  • Fib
    Art form
    Based on math
    Beauty meets reason
    Or is it just a long haiku?
  • by Flyboy Connor ( 741764 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @12:37PM (#15085199)
    You can start Fibonacci sequences with a different number.

    Here's a fib that starts with zero:

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor