Here on this page I have gathered  a few links to mathematical ideas that help shape poems.  This process continues now on my blog -- http://poetrywithmathematics.blogspot.com

In 1960 a group of  French intellectuals met for a colloquium devoted to the work of  writer and philosopher Raymond Queneau. These ten became the founding members of the OULIPO (OUvroir de LItterature POtentielle, a workshop of  potential literature through the development of literary structures).  The group contained musicians, mathematicians (inlcuding graph theorist Claude Berge), writers, and various others.   Potential literature is a search for new forms and structures to be used by writers in any way they see fit.  Queneau's Cent Mille Milliards de poemes (one hundred thousand billion poems) illustrates this formal quest.  What appears at first glance to be a collection of ten sonnets is actually a base for combinatorial assembly.  Each first line may be combined with each second line, and so on. Thus there are 100 possible pairings of the first two lines and, given that a sonnet has 14 lines, 1014 sonnets in all.  

Poet and musician Harry Mathews has taken an OULIPO n+7 rule (replace every noun by the noun 7 farther along in the dictionary-- or if that one doesn't rhyme or have the correct number of syllables, you may move on) and made a new poem from William Wordsworth's familiar poem about daffodils.  Here is a link to the transformed poem, "The Imbeciles" as well as to some other OULIPO material.

When a writer is choosing a poetic pattern by counting the number of syllables per line, the resulting verse is called syllabic. Counting the number of stressed syllables per line is done in accentual verse.  It is said that the British poet W. H. Auden thought it was the number of words per line that the poet should consider. 

The square poems on this website are examples of syllabic verse.The familiar nursery rhyme, "Three Blind Mice" is an example of accentual verse.  Syllabic verse is more common in romance languages than in English.  American poet Marianne Moore has many fine examples of syllabic verse.  Her poem "The Icosasphere" is of mathematical interest for both its form and content.  This poem is examined in my article "Mathematics in Poetry." 

Here is another application of one of the most popular OULIPO formulas, "N+7," in which the writer takes a poem already in existence and substitutes each of the poem's substantive nouns with the noun appearing seven nouns away in the dictionary. Care is taken to ensure that the substitution is not just a compound derivative of the original, or shares a similar root, but a wholly different word. Results can vary widely depending on the version of the dictionary one uses. By applying the N+7 rule to Wallace Stevens's poem "The Snow Man," you get a new poem called "The Soap Mandible".