Poets in the Lab

katharine coles

Records of scientific practice over the centuries show us that scientists have always directly collaborated to produce new knowledge. Scholarly practice in the humanities, however, has often been much more solitary and individual.  Though poetry scholars and poets, for example, have always enjoyed lively discussions in which they air, test, and argue over their opinions and conclusions, in the main their work involves the interaction of an individual brain with a specific poem or set of poems, usually behind a door closed to shut out noise.

The introduction of computers into humanities scholarship has presented poetry scholars with new opportunities and also with new challenges, especially related to collaboration and its hazards and rewards. In their work with visualization scientists Min Chen, Alfie Abdul-Rahman, and Eamonn Maguire, and linguist Martin Wynne at the Oxford e-Research Centre, Katharine Coles and Julie Gonnering Lein, both poets and poetry scholars, have been challenged to learn and even to create ways of thinking and working that have not previously been part of their practice. Both through the visualizations that the scientists have created, and also through the very act of conceptualizing and accounting for poetry and its features in a way that will be useful for the scientists. the experience has led them to new and exciting insights about poetry and what it does.

This seminar is organized jointly by OeRC and The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH).


Digital Humanities

Contact name: Martin Wynne
Contact email: martin.wynne@it.ox.ac.uk
Website: Poets in the Lab
Audience: Open to all