Sounding Poetry with Digital Tools

Dr. Joanne Swafford

Although poetry is often treated as silent print on a page, this talk details how digital tools can augment poetry’s aural and performed dimensions. The talk presents two such digital projects: “Songs of the Victorians,” an archive and analysis of musical settings of famous Victorian poems, and “Sounding Poetry,” a visualization tool for analyzing poetry recitations. Digital sound studies projects like these enable an interdisciplinary approach that can make audible more than just the sound of a poem. As a case study, this talk analyzes Amy Levy’s poem “To Sylvia” (1884), using the digital framework of “Songs  of the Victorians,” to reveal Levy’s vision of a female-centric, queer, interdisciplinary model of poetry.


Joanne Swafford received her PhD in English Language and Literature from the University of Virginia in 2014. She is currently Assistant Professor of Engish at SUNY New Paltz.