What is this?

An experimental poetry project by John R. Ladd. See the code.

Part data visualization and part poetry generator, Spenser's Color Wheel is an exploration of the color words he uses in his two most famous works, *The Faerie Queene* and The Shepheardes Calender. What color words does Spenser choose and in what proportions? How does he deploy color within the economy of his lines and stanzas?

By scrolling among the pie charts, the viewer can quickly see which colors Spenser uses from book to book in The Faerie Queene and month to month in The Shepheardes Calender. The circles are scaled according to the proportion of lines that use color terms to the whole of each text, which gives the viewer a quick sense of how much Spenser uses color in each poem section.

By clicking on the colors, the viewer can make fourteen-line poems out of randomly selected "color-lines" from that text, and the new poems will always contain lines proportional to the usage of color the viewer clicked. The resulting poems, like those in the Mutable Stanzas, show that Spenser's lines are self-contained enough to be reordered into new senses. But by using only lines with color words, the new poems have greater density of striking images.

Spenser's Color Wheel
Click some colors to create a poem.