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Plotting Poetry II : Bringing Deep Learning to Computational Poetry Analysis 12-14 September 2018, FU Berlin, KL 32 123

Sep 12, 2018 - Sep 14, 2018

Plotting Poetry II : Bringing Deep Learning to Computational Poetry Analysis

12-14 September 2018, FU Berlin, KL 32 123


In 1917, commenting on the rise of new media, the french poet Apollinaire urged for “plotting/mechanising (“machiner”) poetry as has been done for the world”. A century later, the slogan’s rich metaphor is made all the sharper with the new technologies’ emergence in literary studies: The Digital Humanities (DH) have experienced an incredible gain in momentum over the last 10-15 years, providing literary scholars with copious and entirely new research data: digital editions of texts, images, musical pieces and other semiotic artifacts (accessible via Google Books, zeno org, large digital editions like PHI or the Perseus Digital Library and many others). This has also fueled advances in research methodology in the humanities, such as the influential "distant reading" approach (Moretti 2013), based on the idea of discovering patterns in searchable corpora of literature by explorative statistical methods, and using them for interpretation and literary analysis. In poetry analysis, computational tools have been devised in order to support and develop metrical and rhythmical analysis, readout poetry analysis, stylometry, and to ultimately enable computer-assisted interpretation.

Notwithstanding the success story of this data-driven approach, a “computational turn” (David M. Berry, 2011) has recently been advocated within the DH, bringing to the forefront the actual algorithms and computational techniques of pattern recognition, machine learning, and deep learning (Bishop, 2006). These technologies have become mainstream in many areas of digital processing, and have sparked much of the success of (and critical concerns about) digitization in our everyday life. They have also proven successful in all areas of natural language processing, prosodic data, and encoded textual data. Nevertheless, in literary studies as well as poetry analysis, an application of these new methods of deep learning is still lacking.

To fill this gap is the rationale of the proposed workshop. It will gather experts in computational poetry analysis as well as experts in deep learning techniques in order to improve the digital analysis of poetic language features – such as prosody, metrics, metaphors, coded text. The aim is to create opportunities for the sharing of good practice, hands-on practical applications, and the learning of specialized methods; to offer a platform for presenting and discovering ongoing research projects; and to reflect on the benefits and potential shortcomings of digital pattern recognition based on deep learning methods. Bringing these two groups into discussion means to send all contributions to the participants by electronic means before the meeting. In this way, our workshop will guarantee equal parts of expert presentations and discussions between scholars and experts of the literary and computational fields.




Wednesday 12


09:00-09:30        Welcome.

o             PD Dr. Burkhard Meyer-Sickendiek (FU Berlin); Dr. Anne-Sophie Bories (Universität Basel)

09:30-11:00        Automation or Interpretation

o             Prof. Dr. Christof Schöch (Universität Trier): Is Topic Modeling Poetry Possible?

o             Dr. Anne-Sophie Bories (Universität Basel): Verhaeren’s constrained free verse

Coffee break    

11:30 – 13:00     Versification

o             Thomas Haider (Max Planck Institute, Frankfurt): Supervised Rhyme Detection with Siamese Recurrent Networks

o             Prof. Dr. David Birnbaum (University of Pittsburg): The automatic detection of Russian rhyme




14:30 – 16:00     Hands-on training session on Topic Modeling:

o             Prof. Dr. Arthur Jacobs (FU Berlin): Exploring an English Poetry Corpus


Coffee break


16:30     Keynote lecture:

o             Prof. Dr. Alexander Mehler (University of Regensburg): On Covering the Gap between Computation and Humanities




Thursday 13


9:30 – 11:00       Metrical analysis

o             Dr. Valérie Beaudouin (Télécom-ParisTech): Meter, rhyme, rhythm of La Fontaine’s Fables

o             Dr. Mike Kestemont (Universiteit Antwerpen) / MA Wouter Haverals (Universiteit Antwerpen): Metrical analyses of medieval Dutch poetry for the purpose of genre and authorship analysis


Coffee break

11:30 – 13:00     Deep Learning

o             Prof. Dr. Kristian Kersting (TU Darmstadt): Tractable Data Journalism using deep learning

o             Prof. Dr. Fotis Jannidis (Universität Würzburg): Challenges for the application of neural networks in computational poetry analysis.




14:30 – 16:00     Stylometry

o             Dr. Petr Plecháč (Czech Academy of Sciences) /Dr. Klemens Bobenhausen (independent), Benjamin Hammerich (ETH Zürich): Automatic author recognition

o             Prof. Dr. Gabriel Viehhauser (Universität Stuttgart): Historical Stylometry

Coffee break


16:30     Keynote lecture:

o             Prof. Dr. Jonas Kuhn (Universität Stuttgart): In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes, For they in thee a thousand errors note — Literature and Computation




Friday 14


9:30-11:00           Machine-Aided Close Listening

o             Chris Mustazza (University of Pennsylvania): Machine-Aided Close Listening: The Pennsound-Corpus

o             PD Dr. Burkhard Meyer-Sickendiek (FU Berlin); MA Heiko Strunk (Lyrikline): Analyzing the Spectrum of Free-Verse-Prosody: The Lyrikline-Corpus


Coffee break


11:30-13:00        Hands-on training session on Machine learning in poetry analysis

o             Dr. Timo Baumann (CMU Pittsburgh, USA)/ Dr. Hussein Hussein (FU Berlin): Iterative human-in-the-loop processing for data-driven philological understanding of poetry


Lunch, and end of Workshop


Time & Location

Sep 12, 2018 - Sep 14, 2018

Freie Universität Berlin, KL 32 123