For mathematicians, reading a well-crafted proof that turns toward its conclusion with elegance and perhaps surprise -- this mirrors an encounter with poetry. But can one have that poetry-math experience without being fluent in the language of mathematics? Below I offer a proof (a version of Euclid's proof of the infinitude of primes) and a "cut-up" produced from that proof-- and I invite readers (both mathematical and non-mathematical) to consider them as poems.

From the proof above I created another "poem" -- this time a

*cut-up*. One may find at UbuWeb an article by writer William S Burroughs about the*Cut-Up Method*of Brion Gysin. Burroughs writes that in the summer of 1959 painter and writer Brion Gysin cut newspaper articles into sections and rearranged the sections randomly. Soon there was*Minutes to Go*-- with cut-ups by Gysin, Burroughs, Sinclair Beiles and Gregory Corso, (Two Cities Editions, 1960) -- and described by Burroughs as containing "unedited unchanged cut-ups emerging as quite coherent and meaningfu.l" (Gysin's cut-up method is similar to collage, used by painters and other visual artists.) I applied Gysin's process to my version of Euclid's proof. I cut a print-out of the theorem-proof into many several-word strips and then selected and pasted some of the strips onto a piece of red paper -- my process was quick and somewhat haphazard, but I preferred word-phrases to strings of symbols. Here is the result:

Readers are encouraged to contribute comments to this blog posting. And to create cut-ups of their own.

Cut-ups are also related to Cento poems, which have been around since the 3rd century AD.

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