Howlphabetised

This project analyses Allen Ginsberg's use of words and letters (mainly letters, though) in his controversial poem "Howl (for Carl Solomon)". Using a few different methods I explored the poem to see what I could get out of it as a data set rather than a landmark piece of literary art.

The posters have a common colour coding system which was created using data from the poem. I made three grids, each square with a value between 1 and 100 attached, and placed each letter of the alphabet in the grid in order of individual letter use, the number of words starting with each letter, then in alphabetical order. The three grids gave each letter three percentages, which were used to mix Cyan, Magenta and Yellow.

This means that letters used often and that come early in the alphabet are softer and lighter, while those that come later and aren't used much are darker; this effect is most obvious in the first poster.
Poster 1/3
This poster is a chart of the letter usage through the entire 3,000+ word poem. The radius of the circles indicates the number of times each letter is used, while the colours conform to the colour scheme present through all three posters.
Poster 2/3
This poster contains the most information out of the set. The diagrams are:1. Stepped pie chart of the number of words that start with a given letter.2. List of every single word in Howl (using a single instance of each word only) colour coded according to whether the word is positive, negative, obscene or neutral (cyan, magenta, yellow and black accordingly - Yellow for obscene words because yellow on white is hard to read, which makes the words a little less offensive). The three colours were then converted into percentages and mixed, giving a colour to the overall mood of the poem, which was quite negative.3. A list of every single instance of every single letter in alphabetical order. This supports the first poster.
Poster 3/3
The last poster used the colour coding scheme present throughout the posters as a typeface to re-write the poem in such a way that patterns (Ginsberg used a lot of repetition in the poem) could be seen in the text. Each Tetris-like shape is a line from the poem, each row within the shape is a word, and each individual square is a letter. There are over 16,000 squares on the poster, each arranged manually.
Howlphabetised
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Howlphabetised

A project visualising Allen Ginsberg's use of words and letters in his most famous poem, "Howl (for Carl Solomon)".
7
281
1
Published: