Wordle Analysis

Wordle - All 6

Wordle for six poems listed on the site

The frequency in the number of Spanish words is the first thing that comes to mind when viewing a wordle of Cofer’s work. Goya is the most repeated word, which is a little unrepresentative of the entire sample because only one of Cofer’s works talks about Goya. One thing that we discovered through the use of the Wordle is Cofer’s tendency to use one specific topic for each piece that she does and build the poem around the topic, while sprinkling in the themes and motifs that she always uses. This is the reason that the words dangerous, caliente, and dice also take up large portions of the wordle; they are each the topics of their respective poems.Cofer’s work also seems to be extremely interested in light, or in the absence of it. Light is a word that is used frequently, as are words like dark, black, open, claro (clear), wide, etc. Because we are using a Wordle to analyze the text, it is more difficult to determine if the theme of light and dark is present in all of the poems, or just in a small sampling. We will look into this further in our Distant Reading section.Spanish words are at the forefront of every Cofer poem, and this Wordle cloud is no exception. The word Spanish itself is prominent in the Wordle, and Spanish words like el, dice, muy, caliente, claro, como, etc dance around it. The presence of these words in Cofer’s work take us back to her roots; almost all of her poetry has elements of her Puerto Rican heritage somewhere in the poem and this cloud helps us to realize just how dominant her culture is in her work.

Ngram Analysis

We used Google Ngrams to determine if Cofer’s themes, subjects, and shifts in focus of her poems was consistent with global trends. We began with a small sampling of data from the poems that we focused on, taking one subject, and two themes. One of the themes that we analyzed was used significantly in Cofer’s early work and not as frequently in her later poems. Another theme was used more frequently in her later poems, yet was also commonly used in her early poems. The following is what we discovered.

image 1 (2)

From 2000 to 2004, in the years right before Cofer wrote “And Goya Said,” the frequency of which Goya appeared in books increased. In 2007, the year that Cofer published Goya, the prevalence of Goya as a subject in books was at an all time low from the previous 16 years.

image 2 (2)

We traced the use of the word mother, or its equivalents, through both the early and late poems. What we found was that in her early poems, written from 1987 to 1997, the word mother appears frequently in the corpus that we analyzed. The use of this word fell significantly in her work from 2000-2010. Wondering if this was a phenomenon on a larger scale, we traced the use of the words mother, mothers, maternal, etc. We found that on a larger scale, the use of the word mother and its equivalents actually increased from the 1987-1997 decade to the 2000-2010 decade, which is not analogous with Cofer’s work.

image 3 (2)

Love is a theme that can be found throughout Cofer’s work, in both the early and late poems, however her use of the word love (and similar words like lover, etc) increases significantly in the later poems. This increase corresponds with an overall increase in the use of the word love in books. Love as a theme in books remained relatively static from 1980 to 2000 but started to steadily increase from 2000-2010. In the Distant Reading section, we speculated that this was because of Cofer’s personal growth and experiences with love but she could be simply a part of a global phenomenon that was taking place.


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