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The Trans-Historical Poetry Project: A Quantitative Approach to the Formal History of English Poetry

Date and Time: 
Monday, February 9, 2015. 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Humanities Center Boardroom
Meeting Description: 
Please join us February 9th (Monday) from 6-8 pm for a workshop with the Transhistorical Poetry Project Team. The research group will present on “The Trans-Historical Poetry Project: A Quantitative Approach to the Formal History of English Poetry.” Professor Roland Greene (Stanford, English & Complit) will be responding. The workshop will take place in the Stanford Humanities Center Board Room. Please note that Poetics will meet on Mondays in winter and spring quarter.
 
About the paper, the group writes:
One of the two primary goals of this project is to trace the history of particular formal variations in English-language poetry from the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries. Although the broad outlines of this history are already known, we believe that historical formalism is deepened and nuanced by a quantitative turn in methodology. The methodology of this project, which in its difficulty has become its other primary goal, consists in identifying aspects of poetic form computationally. In particular, we are interested in detecting the following formal features of a poem: line length scheme, meter, metrical scheme, rhyme scheme, synthetic form. This paper and presentation will focus on our work identifying the metrical properties of a poem. We believe that by modeling meter computationally—by describing its operations precisely enough even a computer can understand them—we ourselves come to understand it and its history in new ways.
 
The Transhistorical Poetry Project Team is a research group within the Stanford Literary Lab. Together, its members are working towards creating computational methods for parsing the formal features of English poetry and researching the new historical and critical findings that such methods make possible. Team members include Ryan Heuser, Co-Associate Director for Research of the Literary Lab and Ph.D. candidate in English; JD Porter, Jonathan Sensenbaugh and Justin Tackett, PhD candidates in English; and Mark Algee-Hewitt, Co-Associate Director of the Lab and Assistant Professor of English.

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