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An MLA 2014 Special Session Proposal

I’ve put collectively a particular session with some particular individuals for MLA 2014:  Dr. Natalie Houston, Dr. Julie Lein, Dr. Katharine Coles and I have proposed a proper panel titled “Things My Computer Taught Me About Poems.” Notice that great mind Brian Croxall and I had the identical impulse: to focus on results as an alternative of methods. We’ll see what transpires!

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UPDATE 7/19/13: Our panel was accepted and has been scheduled for 5:15pm, Thursday, January ninth — the primary full day of periods. Additionally, the eminent Dr. Meredith Martin has agreed to preside. See you in Chicago!
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Description

Digital humanities has reached some extent the place its mere existence is not (or ought to not be) shocking, but too typically, digital humanities periods wind up serving as apologia for digital methods of scholarship. As Ryan Cordell writes, “Only a few years ago, [digital humanities] was still a fringe field, mostly ignored by academia more widely. DHers felt not like ‘the next big thing,’ but like an embattled minority.” This defensiveness has meant that digital humanities periods have typically targeting explaining, educating, justifying, or critiquing digital methods basically fairly than on presenting the outcomes of these methods: of the digitally-oriented periods at the 2013 meeting of the MLA listed by Mark Pattern, phrases similar to “approaches,” “methods,” “modes,” “theories,” and “practices” abound. The proposed particular session, “Things My Computer Taught Me About Poems,” explores how new digital methods can contribute to the research of poetry while on the similar time deemphasizing technique as a lot as attainable. Conceived independently of and indeed prior to the publication of “Beyond the Digital,” Brian Croxall’s Affiliation for Computing within the Humanities panel proposal for MLA 2014, “Things My Computer Taught Me About Poems” however proceeds from precisely the same impulse: to remind ourselves and the MLA group that, as Croxall places it, “the output of digital analysis is not itself the goal; rather, it is a means to an end, and that end is the interpretation of a text or corpus.” We subsequently suggest a formal panel session composed of three fifteen-minute shows by scholars of poetry who have adopted a digital technique: these students will respectively talk about their new insights into specific instances of poetic influence, poetic fashion, and poetic time.

To begin, Dr. Amanda French (also the presider), will talk about mental and poetic influences on Edna St. Vincent Millay as revealed by her books. Scholars have not a lot thought-about Millay’s sources or influences, however once they have, the consensus has been that, as J. D. McClatchy put it in 2003, “Millay wrote from the bedroom, not the library” (52). But Millay did possess a library of greater than a thousand books, and for all her popularity as an emotional slightly than an mental poet, that very library exhibits her curiosity in classical Greek literature, socialism, Marxism, relativity, and astronomy. At the similar time, evaluation of the books Millay owned means that Millay’s most persistent intellectual influence got here from the poets of her own era, especially the lesser-known poets.

Secondly, Dr. Natalie Houston will talk about the poetic types of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Christina Rossetti. When scholars describe the type of a specific poet, they sometimes determine options that help their description inside that poet’s own oeuvre; on this tradition, Christina Rossetti’s language is famously “simple” and EBB’s “complex.” Dr. Houston’s paper will current a comparative analytics of four options of Victorian poetic type: rhyme, enjambment, vocabulary richness, and repetition. Analyzing these options inside the works of Rossetti and Barrett Browning, but in addition suggesting how their works could be in another way understood compared towards the larger backdrop of Victorian poetic production, Dr. Houston will present concrete measures for understanding the two poets’ relative simplicity and complexity.

Lastly, Dr. Katharine Coles and Dr. Julie Lein will talk about their modified understanding of poetic time. It has been commonplace for critics and poets to discuss with the “lyric moment,” to contrast the ostensibly typical “stillness” and atemporal “suspension” of poetry (most especially the lyric) with the action and (at occasions disrupted or multiplied) sequential movement(s) of narrative. As Drs. Coles and Lein will clarify, their analysis has persuaded them quite the opposite that poetic time is incredibly energetic and dynamic—characterized by at the very least as a lot multidimensional temporal movement as narrative prose.

All 4 scholars might say a lot about their respective methods, which in themselves differ extensively. Dr. French is creating a online catalog of the intact private library of Edna St. Vincent Millay, and her technique may justly be referred to as the “epistemology of building,” in Stephen Ramsay and Geoff Rockwell’s term. Dr. Houston pays consideration to sample: she makes use of text evaluation tools to help determine such patterns and examine them within and throughout poems, sequences, books, and oeuvres, not only among the many works of canonical poets but in addition on the significantly larger scale now out there via digitization. Drs. Coles and Lein, funded within the US by an NEH Digging Into Knowledge Problem grant, are working with pc scientists to develop poetry visualization software. Whether or not the actual insights of these 4 scholars might have been achieved by non-computational strategies is open to debate, and debate of that sort will probably be welcome within the query and answer interval (which we intend to ensure lasts no less than twenty minutes). However, it is our hope that “Things My Computer Taught Me About Poems” may also (or ideally, as an alternative) generate debate about topics comparable to poetic affect, poetic fashion, and poetic time.

Cordell, Ryan. “Mea Culpa: On Conference Tweeting, Politeness, and Community Building | Ryan Cordell.” Ryan Cordell 26 Jan. 2013. 28 Mar. 2013. .

Croxall, Brian. “Beyond the Digital: Pattern Recognition and Interpretation. A CFP for MLA 2014 from ACH.” 13 Mar. 2013. 28 Mar. 2013. .

McClatchy, J. D. “Feeding on Havoc: The Poetics of Edna St. Vincent Millay.” The American Scholar 72.2 (2003) : 45–52. 2 Apr. 2013. .

Ramsay, Stephen, and Geoffrey Rockwell. “Developing Things: Notes Toward an Epistemology of Building in the Digital Humanities.” Debates in the Digital Humanities. Open-access. Ed. Matthew Okay. Gold. College of Minnesota Press, 2012. 28 Mar. 2013. .

Pattern, Mark. “Digital Humanities at MLA 2013.” SAMPLE REALITY 17 Oct. 2012. 28 Mar. 2013. .

Abstracts

Millay and Her Books

Amanda French

Students haven’t much thought-about Millay’s sources or influences, however once they have, the consensus has been that, as J. D. McClatchy put it in 2003, “Millay wrote from the bedroom, not the library.” Yet Millay did possess an in depth library of books, and for all her status as an emotional relatively than an intellectual poet, that very library exhibits her interest in classical Greek literature, socialism, Marxism, relativity, and astronomy. At the similar time, analysis of the books Millay owned suggests that Millay’s most persistent intellectual influence got here from the poets of her own era, especially the lesser-known poets.

What Does Type Really Mean? A Comparative Analysis of the Poetry of Christina Rossetti and Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Natalie Houston

Until lately, our readings of nineteenth-century poetry have been largely directed by what Foucault termed the “author function,” the classification schemes derived from a biographical strategy to literary history.   As we speak, the digitization of public area materials and the development of computational instruments for evaluation can lead us to new comparative research throughout the widest range of Victorian print tradition, beyond the normal educational canon. This paper presents a comparative evaluation of the poetic types of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Christina Rossetti and suggests how their works could be in a different way understood in comparison towards the larger backdrop of Victorian poetic production.

When scholars describe the poetic fashion of a specific poet, (Christina Rossetti’s language is famously “simple,” and EBB’s “complex”), they sometimes determine options that help their description inside the oeuvre of a specific poet.

Computational evaluation may help us look more rigorously at the patterns of poetic language each within a specific writer’s works and across a bigger textual corpus.

Whether or not we’re reading one sonnet or 100, a elementary assumption in reading poetry is that the choice and association of linguistic parts (phrases, clauses, sentences) bears an essential relation to the which means of the textual content. As Jerome McGann suggests:

In poems, nevertheless, “meaning” is mistakenly conceived whether it is conceived as a “message.” Quite, “meaning” in poetry is part of the poetical medium . . . one textual degree – Pound referred to as it “logopoeia” – the place the textual content’s communicative exchanges play themselves out. (The Textual Situation 15)

Our technique, quite merely, is to concentrate to patterns.  Textual content evaluation instruments will help us determine such patterns and examine them inside and across poems, sequences, books, and oeuvres.  Computational evaluation is probably especially nicely suited to the research of poetry, given the mathematical parts all the time already embedded in poetic type.

This paper presents a comparative computational analytics of four features of Victorian poetic fashion: rhyme, enjambment, vocabulary richness, and repetition. Analyzing these options inside the works of Rossetti and Barrett Browning offers concrete measures for understanding their relative simplicity and complexity.  I explain how the metrics provided by this analysis can contribute to a new comparative analysis of Victorian poetics, both among the many works of canonical poets and at the significantly bigger scale now obtainable by way of digitization.

Turbulence and Temporality: (Re)visualizing Poetic Time

Katharine Coles and Julie Lein

In 2012 we embarked with pc scientists on a challenge to develop unique poetry visualization software. This research, funded in the US by the NEH as part of a Digging Into Knowledge Problem grant, has led us to consider and strategy poems in another way than we ever have earlier than. Most outstanding amongst these new insights has been our modified understanding of poetic time. Each of us was initially drawn to the challenge partially by its promise to attend rigorously to methods time is expressed and experienced in poems. But neither of us had anticipated how a lot this meticulous consideration would rework our own views of poetry.

It has been commonplace to discuss with the “lyric moment,” to distinction the ostensibly typical “stillness” and atemporal “suspension” of poetry (most particularly the lyric) with the action and (at occasions disrupted or multiplied) sequential motion(s) of narrative. As we’ll clarify, though, our analysis has persuaded us quite the opposite that poetic time is incredibly energetic and dynamic—characterized by at the very least as a lot multidimensional temporal movement as narrative prose.

We now have been working to visualise these multidimensional, multidirectional temporal movements by way of the metaphor of stream, adapting fluid simulation methods to our perception of poems behaving as fluid (or fluids) shifting by way of their linguistic parts, units, and figures by way of a (self)outlined area. This framework has helped us to articulate as turbulence places in poems the place a number of flows (temporal, formal, affective, and so forth.) converge and interact to form the poem as an entire. Focusing first on sound and then picture, we’ll show how close readings, together with our collaborative research, directed us to ideas we might not otherwise have shaped.

Panelist Info

Katharine Coles

Professor Katharine Coles’ fifth assortment of poems, The Earth Is Not Flat, was launched in March by Purple Hen Press, which may even publish her sixth assortment, Flight, in 2015.  Her poems, stories, and essays have appeared in Poetry, The Kenyon Assessment, The Seneca Evaluate, Virginia Quarterly Evaluate, and The Paris Evaluate, amongst many other journals.  In 2009-10, she served as the inaugural director of the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute for the Poetry Basis; on stepping down, she traveled to Antarctica to put in writing poems underneath the auspices of the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program.  A 2012 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, she in on the English school on the University of Utah, the place she based and co-directs the Utah Symposium in Science and Literature and can receive the Distinguished Artistic and Research Award for 2013.  She served as the Utah State Poet Laureate from 2006 to 2012.

Amanda French

Amanda French, a well known figure in the digital humanities, is presently Analysis Assistant Professor and THATCamp Coordinator at the Roy Rosenzweig Middle for History and New Media at George Mason College. Along with her copious “meta” work supporting the digital humanities as an rising scholarly apply, her scholarship on poetic genre has been substantial. Most just lately, she contributed eight articles to the fourth edition of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics; in 2010, she revealed an article in Victorian Poetry titled “Edmund Gosse and the Stubborn Villanelle Blunder.” Her dissertation is a complete history of the villanelle, the poetic type of Dylan Thomas’s “Do not go gentle into that good night” and Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art.” She is at present at work on creating an internet catalog of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s private library at Steepletop.

Natalie Houston

Natalie Houston is an Associate Professor of English at the College of Houston. Her analysis on Victorian poetry and print tradition has appeared in journals comparable to Victorian Research, Victorian Poetry, Yale Journal of Criticism, Romanticism and Victorianism on the Internet,  Essays and Research, and Studies within the Literary Imagination, in addition to in The Blackwell Companion to Victorian Poetry. She is the Undertaking Director for the Visible Web page, an NEH-funded undertaking to develop a software program software to determine and analyze visible options in digitized printed books. She can also be a Co-Director and Technical Director for the Periodical Poetry Index, a analysis database of citations to English-language poems revealed in nineteenth-century periodicals.

Julie Lein

Julie Lein earned her PhD in artistic writing and literature from the University of Utah, the place she additionally served as a poetry editor for Quarterly West and at present works as a postdoctoral analysis fellow. Her poetry, fiction, and scholarship have appeared in The Antioch Assessment, Greatest New Poets 2011, 100 Word Story, Colorado Evaluation, Phoebe, Terrain.org, Modernism/modernity and elsewhere. She is a recipient of the Larry Levis Poetry Prize.