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Poetic Explorations of . . . Mathematicians

In the *Journal of Humanistic Mathematics* (Volume 1, Issue 2), we find "Numen^{R}ology: A Poetic Exploration of the Lives and Work of Famous Mathematicians" by Saskatchewan poet, Mari-Lou Rowley. In addition to the following poem, "On Diophantus *Arithmetica*," Rowley's JHM collection includes "Ode to Alan Turing" and "On Euclid’s *Book VII – Elementary Number Theory*: Proposition 8." Rowley's lines below wonderfully describe the emotional flow that comes with engaging in mathematics -- as mathematical terms are translated into the human terms of *wanting* and *forthcoming*, *kneading*, . . . and *yielding*.
** On Diophantus’ ***Arithmetica* by Mari-Lou Rowley
* A “wanting” and a “wanting” yields a forthcoming.*
* A “forthcoming” and a “wanting” yields a wanting. *^{δ}
and did I tell you over the brim of it all
and the words welling and sucked back
under the undertow of wanting to yield
all needing under your kneading hands
and the words welling and sucked back
and forth and finally returning to source
stream-head bubbling a fissure forceful
wanting your hands there forthcoming
under the undertow of wanting to yield
and fall forward running toward your
words outstretched and spilt forth over
the edge of this forthcoming yielding
under your kneading hands all thoughts
full of words unsaid re-verbed undone
this pounding ribbed throbbing wanting
and did I tell you over the brim of it all
^{δ }Where positive terms represent a "forthcoming" and negative terms a "wanting."
Diophantus was a Greek mathematician who lived in Alexandria during the third century AD. His book Arithmetica is a collection of 130 problems and numerical solutions of these, many of which were not fully appreciated until the 17th century when one, widely publicized, became known as Fermat's Last Theorem. Although *Arithmetica *and its author are often mentioned as the origin of algebra, most of what was written in this work was also known by the Babylonians.
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