Sometimes an email contains a wonderful gift -- such was the case recently when I got a message from the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts giving me access AT THIS LINK to a generous collection of outstanding articles from the 10-year history of this important publication. One of the articles relates to poetry: Niccolò Tartaglia's poetic solution to the cubic equation, by Arielle Saiber of Bowdoin College in Maine.
The collection of free articles notes this history of JMA: "The journal took shape following a meeting arranged by the late Reza Sarhangi at the 2005 Bridges [Math-Arts] Conference, where Kate Watt from Taylor & Francis met with a group of interested conference participants. Following a group proposal led by Gary Greenfield, the journal launched in 2007 with Gary as editor for the first five volumes. Craig S Kaplan then took over as editor in 2012, until he handed the reins to current editor Mara Alagic at the beginning of 2017. BIG THANKS to all of you for this noteworthy journal!
Here, from Saiber's article, are a few lines from
Veronica Gavagna's translation of Tartaglia's Quando chel cubo:
1. When the cube and things together 1. (x³ + px = q)
are equal to some number,
2. find two other numbers differing in this one 2. (u - v = q)
3 that their product should always be equal 3. (uv = (p/3)³)
exactly to a cube of a third of things.
. . .
The curious reader may read on in Saiber's complete article. Additionally, Boston poet Kellie Gutman's English translation of Tartaglia's work -- "When X Cubed" -- is available here.