Welcome to the Historical Poetics website. Here you will find information about our reading group, past and future, links to what we’ve read, and links to work inspired by our ten-year conversation.

Historical poetics is a way of working through various ideas about poetry: what it is, how to read it, and how these ideas have changed over time. These are theoretical as well as historical questions, especially in the nineteenth century, a period of rapid development of historicisms, prosodic systems, and the global spread of English. Beginning in 2002 with a conference on “The Traffic in Poems,” our historical poetics group has been dedicated to individual and collaborative critical explorations of Anglophone poetry from the long nineteenth century, considered in a transatlantic and broadly comparative framework. This website collects the work of our group over the last fifteen years, in an ongoing project to diversify our understanding of nineteenth-century verse cultures. More