Honey in the Dark graphic

A Poet Among Quants

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

If you're mostly analytical in your thinking, you're said to be left-brained. If you tend to be more creative or artistic, you're thought to be right-brained.

Lee Thomas

Lee Thomas, the associate director for the Carlson Analytics Lab, has found a way to be both.

When he’s not helping business analytics students communicate about big data and other technical topics, Thomas is writing poetry. In fact, he recently published his first poetry book, Honey in the Dark. The book is a collection of stories that explore the many possibilities one might experience in their life.

“A lot of it is about the road not taken,” Thomas says. “I’ve always been interested in the idea of the lives we haven’t lived.” 

Exploring those ideas in a variety of ways throughout the 80-page book, Thomas thinks through what it would be like to live in a different country, a different culture, or a different time. He also dissects more abstract ideas such as what it would be like to live as an insect or an animal.

Thomas began writing poetry in the early 2000s when he stumbled upon an anthology of poems that were more accessible and understandable than previous poetry he had read.

“I had been interested in writing for years and years,” he says. “Something prompted me to say, ‘Well, maybe this is the form that I could write in.’”

Thomas sees a connection between technical communication and poetry. 

"I often remind students that words matter," he says. "Being intentional about word choice is essential to poetry. It also makes for more effective communication of complex topics like analytics."

Thomas’ book is published by Brighthorse Books.