Among Practitioners of Cossike Arte

          Poem: Sarah Glaz; collage: Mark Sanders. From the poem-collage project, "Imagined Invited" conceived and edited by David Greenslade

 David Greenslade: The project "Imagined Invited"

Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, Wales, UK

The project "Imagined Invited" is something I started as a 'surrealist game' in the Parisian tradition of Andre Breton.  Writers were given a poetry prompt asking them to compose a poem in which they invite to dinner anyone from time and space, provided that at least one guest has a connection to Wales, and another game is mentioned in the poem. Because I am Welsh and my wife is Romanian it was shared within a circle of writers mainly (but not only) from these two countries.  The visual element, thanks to Mark Sanders (collagist), takes an exploratory and divergent approach blending the pleasures of research with visual resolution and expanding the associations of the poet.  There are twenty poets in all and, in itself, their cast of invited guests makes quite an inspiring list.  The wide age range and international variety of contributing writers has resulted in a slim anthology of surprising stylistic and thematic content.   By combining text and the fragmentary/juxtaposition method of collage the metaphoric possibilities are greatly and pleasantly amplified.  It would be terrific if this approach could inspire more cooperative projects between poets and artists with an interest in mathematics. 


Sarah Glaz: The poem "Among practitioners of Cossike Arte" 

University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA

All the characters appearing in this poem, except myself, lived in Europe during the Renaissance, a period of time in which "algebra" -- still in its infancy -- was called Cossike Arte ("The Art of Things") and a card game called,  Primero,  became all the rage throughout the continent. The Welsh invitee is Robert Recorde (1510 - 1558), physician and mathematician, best known for his invention of the equal sign, =,  which he justified in his algebra book, The Whetstone of Witte, with the words  "because noe 2 thynges are moare equalle." The other figures are all Italian mathematicians who were instrumental in the development of algebra: Girolamo Cardano (1501 - 1576), physician, mathematician, writer, and gambler, who solved the general case of the cubic equation;  Ludovico  Ferrari (1522 - 1565), Cardano's  servant and student, who solved the quartic equation; and casting a malevolent eye on the scene, Tartaglia, "the stammerer," (1500 - 1557) who solved an important case of the cubic on which both Cardano's and Ferrari's solutions relied. Tartaglia wished to keep his solution a secret, but was persuaded to hand it over to Cardano -- in the form of a poem -- when the latter promised to keep it to himself. Cardano's publication of this solution in his algebra book,  Ars Magma, resulted in a bitter life-long feud between the two men.


Mark Sanders: The collage "Among practitioners of Cossike Arte"

Rushden, Northamptonshire, UK

The chance meeting of my sewing machine with David's umbrella (see Lautreamont) has proven to be a most invigorating and expansive experience. Since being invited to take part in this game, I have been introduced, among those I already know, to many characters (invitees) with whom I have previously been utterly unfamiliar. Researching these players in particular has proven to be a most exciting approach to my collage construction, as I aim to represent the thought processes of the poet/host, not necessarily or entirely literally, but hoping to make their guests' identities, quirks and foibles recognizable, if you know what you are looking for...My approach here has been to combine material already in my stockpiles, with components researched and sourced bespoke as required -- a process which in itself has led me along several paths which have yielded fascinating and unexpected links between the poems (and poets!). My engagement with Surrealism tends more toward the visual than through the written word. Though how can anyone fail to see the Marvellous in the notion of such serious men as Cardano and Tartaglia, exchanging mathematical verse!  Collagist notes for viewers who might appreciate a way into the work.