Call for Papers

Versification: Metrics in Practice

25th–27th May 2016, Helsinki, Finland

Versification describes the marriage of language and meter: it is the key to the production of poetry.  This phenomenon attracts researchers from a wide variety of intersecting disciplines, ranging from metricists proper and researchers of cognitive poetics to scholars of folklore, linguistics, linguistic anthropology, literature, musicology, philology and more.  Meter is often discussed abstractly as the formalization of how words, sounds and sometimes also semantics relate to rhythm, yet poetic meter cannot exist without instantiation through language and a connection with social language practice.  The 2016 NordMetrik conference brings focused attention precisely here, on versification as metrics in practice.

By bringing together the insights and perspectives from different disciplines on the many facets of versification, our aim is to stimulate multidisciplinary discussion in order to negotiate shared understanding leading to new knowledge.  No natural language in human history has been without poetry.  This fact suggests that versification is somehow fundamental to culture, and underscores the importance of subjecting this phenomenon to concentrated discussion.

Keynote speakers:

  • Paul Kiparsky (Stanford University)
  • Tomas Riad (University of Stockholm)
  • Jesper Svenbro (Swedish Academy)
  • Kati Kallio (Finnish Literature Society (SKS))
  • Jarkko Niemi (University of Tampere)

We invite proposals for papers on the following and related topics:

  • The symbiosis of meter and language in practice
  • The relationship between meter, melody and rhythm
  • Teaching/communicating and learning/internalizing meter and versification systems
  • Competence, communication and practice
  • Generative metrics
  • Cognitive poetics
  • The language- and/or culture-boundedness of poetry practice
  • Performance and the study of versification
  • Impacts of social or cultural change on metrics and versification
  • The invention and variation of meters in literary poetics

Papers may either concentrate on empirical studies of specific poetries or have a theoretical or methodological emphasis.  Each speaker will be allowed 20 minutes for presentation followed by 10 minutes for discussion.   We ask speakers to keep in mind that the audience will be multidisciplinary, and presentations should remain accessible to specialists in other fields.

To propose a paper, please send a title, 3-5 keywords and a 300-word abstract along with your name, affiliation and contact information to Eeva-Liisa Bastman at eeva-liisa.bastman[at] .  The deadline for proposals is 15th October 2015.