I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Creative Writing and an M.S. Student in Mathematics. I'm writing my master's thesis on knot theory and trying to tie in applications to creative writing. Has anyone come across any sources that explicitly use knot theory as a basis/structure/theoretical underpinning for creative writing/composition? The Oulipo often use combinatorics but I am primarily looking for knot theory focused writing. Thanks!

  • 2
    I don’t know but damn that sounds cool. I’m excited to see you more in the community.
    – bvcolic
    Jan 30, 2021 at 21:58
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    I agree with bvcolic xD
    – Tasch
    Jan 31, 2021 at 2:54
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    Wow. That's specific and obscure, but kind of impressive at the same time. Do you mean ANY kind of creative writing, or just poetry, just fiction, literary, etc? I had to google some of this just to fully understand it. You might want to give some further info to make the question more accessible.
    – DWKraus
    Jan 31, 2021 at 5:56

1 Answer 1


Not an answer, too long for a comment.

I think you're going to have to invent the theory and provide the first examples for this interesting combination.

You might want to think about how Borges uses self reference and combinatorics (e.g. the Library of Babel).

Particular ideas from knot theory that might enjoy an appearance in fiction or poetry:

  • The unknot, and how to characterize it

  • chirality

  • Borromean rings

  • Counting knots

  • Knot isomorphism and knot invariants, the HOMFLY polynomial

  • There are no knots in the plane, or in four dimensions

  • Rademacher moves

  • Braids

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