Poem Viewer: a DH tool for close reading

Poem Viewer is a data visualization tool for close reading of poems that you can upload.

“Poem Viewer was created as part of the project Imagery Lens for Visualizing Text Corpora. The project explored new visualization techniques for use in large scale linguistic and literary corpora using the collections of the British National Corpus and various smaller collections of poetry. The project was funded as part of the international ‘Digging Into Data Challenge’, funded by the JISC in the UK, and the National Endowment of the Humanities in the USA.”

Using W.B. Yeats poem ‘A Drinking Song’ as an example, the image of the first two lines is given in the following snapshot.


The researcher has the option of manipulating several features: layout and overview, phonetic units and attributes, phonetic features like vowel position and consonant features (voiceless and voice), phonetic relations (e.g. rhyme, end rhyme, alliteration frequency), word units and attributes, and finally, semantic relations.  The orange, blue and grey boxes above represent vowels, consonants and punctuation respectively.   Here is a partial image of the panel of choices available:


Oxford e-Research Centre at the University of Oxford created the Poem Viewer as an experiment in analyzing poetry through data visualization.

If you are interested in more information about this tool, there is an open access article:

Rule-based Visual Mappings – with a Case Study on Poetry Visualization. A. Abdul-Rahman, J. Lein, K. Coles, E. Maguire, M. Meyer, M. Wynne, C. R. Johnson, A. Trefethen, and M. Chen. In Computer Graphics Forum, 32(3):381-390, 2013. [PDF] [BibTex].   A video describing the poetry visualization tool is available. [MP4 video (18.7 MB, audio)]
Thank you to my buddy, Kim Hoffman, for bringing this to my attention.