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Trans-Historical Poetry Project

About the project

Status: archive

Project team: Mark Algee-Hewitt, Ryan Heuser, J.D. Porter;

Collaborators: Jonathan Sensenbaugh, Justin Tackett;

Start date: Jan 1, 2016

End date: Sep 1, 2018

Last updated: Jan 1, 2023

The goal of the Trans-Historical Poetry Project is to trace the variation of poetic form over a large corpus of English-language poetry, combining the insights of prosodic and metrical analysis with the methods of phonetics, natural language processing, and statistics. While using computational techniques for handling large corpora, we remain faithful to the aims and questions of traditional prosody: what kind of refinement, for instance, can we add to current theories of meter by being able to examine long historical series of poems? Can algorithms reliably recognize complex metrical schemes – and what patterns will emerge from the histories of those schemes? Our work on variation in line and poem length between 1500 and 1900 has already yielded results, and is now moving towards a more comprehensive analysis of poetic form that includes features such as stress, rhyme, and metrical form.