Frontiers in Big Data (Jun 2023)

Characterizing the visualization design space of distant and close reading of poetic rhythm

  • Alejandro Benito-Santos,
  • Alejandro Benito-Santos,
  • Salvador Muñoz,
  • Roberto Therón Sánchez,
  • Francisco J. García Peñalvo

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 6


Read online

Metrical and rhythmical poetry analysis is founded on the systematic statistical analysis and comparison of sonic devices (e.g., rhythmic patterns) that emerge from a combination of pre-established aesthetic and structural rules and the poet's abilities and creative genius to convey a given message adhering to the said constraints. These rhythmical patterns, which have been traditionally obtained by means of a careful close reading of the poems, in a process known as “scansion,” can now be obtained and made visible by automatic means. However, the visualization literature is still scarce on approaches that allow an insightful close and distant reading of the rhythmical patterns in a poetry corpus. In this work, we report our initial efforts in characterizing of the visualization design space of distant and close reading of poetic rhythm. By employing a digital version of a corpus of 11,268 verses originally written by the Spanish poet and playwright Federico García-Lorca (1898–1936), we could craft several prototypical visualizations representative of the inherent complexity of the problem which we expect to employ in future user studies and that we share here with the rest of the community to foster further discussion around this interesting topic.