Ambi-poetry: A mathematician reinterprets ambigrams

by | Saturday, January 10, 2009

My friend Gaurav Bhatnagar (I had blogged about his new book, Get Smart: Math Concepts here), for some reason, known only to him, has decided to create a poetry-blog based around my ambigrams. Each posting consists of one ambigram (taken from my large collection of ambigrams on Flickr), followed by a short poem inspired by it. Suffice to say, I am quite flattered by all this attention and am highlighting his work on my website (in fact it gets its own sidebar entry on the right). One might argue whether or not these writings can truly be called poems (all I can say is that Gaurav takes full advantage of poetic license), but that is not the point. What is important is the manner in which he often, in true Hofstadterian fashion, understands what inspired me to create these designs in the first place. Thus these poems serve as another layer of interpretation of these designed objects.

As I said before, I am flattered.

Consider for instance two of his poems. The first is around an ambigram of my own name: Punya

Followed by this poem by Gaurav

A Pun-
A bad one,
or a good 1,
is just a Pun.
You’ll never know,
I say what I mean,
or I mean what I say.
A good pun, ya?

The second is around a schitzophrenic ambigram, which could be read as Teach or as Learn!

to which Gaurav adds the following piece of inspired doggerel.

Some say that
one teaches best,
what one needs to learn
the most.

Two sides
of the same coin?
Or are they,
one and the same?

Read the rest by going here, or by following the links on the right!

Topics related to this post: Ambigrams | Art | Blogging | Creativity | Design | Fun | India | Personal | Poetry | Representation | Worth Reading

A few randomly selected blog posts…

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

One updated ambigram (for Thanksgiving) and one new design for the word "Gratitude."   Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

The end of the university II

From my end of the university as we know it series, here is another article, this time from The Washington Monthly, titled College for $99 a Month: The next generation of online education could be great for students—and catastrophic for universities. Here are some key...

EPET at SITE 2013

SITE2013 (the annual conference of the Society of Information Technology in Teacher Education) is being held in New Orleans starting next week. The Educational Psychology and Educational Technology program at MSU has a significant presence at the conference. This...

TPACK Vanity (v. 2.0)

Back in 2006 Matt and I took a bunch of work that we had been doing in the area of technology integration for teaching and pulled it together into one broad theoretical framework and published it in TCRecord. The TPACK framework as it has come to be known has been...

ChatGPT3 writes a Mathematical Proof (in verse)

ChatGPT3 writes a Mathematical Proof (in verse)

Many years ago I got interested in writing poetry about mathematics (all archived on my Math-Poetry page). Just to be clear, I am not a good poet (far from it) and I am even less of a mathematician—but it was a fun exercise to engage in. That said, a couple of my...

Creativity in Surgery, Music & Cooking

Creativity in Surgery, Music & Cooking

Here is the next article in our series Rethinking Technology & Creativity in the 21st Century for the journal TechTrends. In this article we feature an interview with Dr. Charles Limb,  professor of Otolaryngology and a...

Hotels & the internet

A while ago David Pogue, NYTimes tech columnist and reviewer, asked a his readers a series of questions that he hadn't been able to find an answer for. This list, called Pogue's Imponderables, generated a lot of comments from readers. One of his questions was "Why is...

Origin-al Interface snafu!

Origin-al Interface snafu!

The Origins Project at ASU is an attempt to explore humankind's most fundamental questions about our origins. As the website says, This project brings "together a diverse collection of the world’s leading scientists, scholars, and public intellectuals...

The intangibles of teaching

Jim Garrison and A. G. Rud have a wonderful article on TCRecord on Reverence in Classroom Teaching. Though, reverence may be "too exalted a word to associate with the practical and often mundane activities of teaching," it appears to me that ignoring these deeper...


  1. Ajit Yadav

    Thanks Punya

  2. fewo

    It´s fascinating what Gaurav Bhatnagar did by creating a poetry-blog where his latest works are based around Punya Mishra´s ambigrams.

  3. Anand

    Through the ages,
    teach and learn
    now we learn (or are we being taught ?)
    they could be
    sleight of hand
    or a moment of “Blink”?
    I guess we can – read what we want to
    even fool our I’s to reach some elegant con-clusion

  4. Cherice

    A shame that such dishes aren’t on the standard menu of “food for thought” served in school. They are as attractive as appetizers, satisfying enough to serve as the main entree, and their flavor is sufficiently complex to stimulate a patron’s appetite for more.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *