3 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Concrete Poetry

Things You Probably Didn't Know About Concrete Poetry
Concrete poetry is a form of poetry that uses its shape to convey the message behind the poem. Penlighten lists the various examples of this form, and attempts to teach you how to write one yourself.
Penlighten Staff
Last Updated: Dec 09, 2017
One of George Herbert's concrete poems, "The Easter Wings" which was published in 1633, has been printed sideways, on two face-to-face pages, so as to resemble the wings of a bird, the poem's subject.
Concrete poetry or visual poetry or a shaped verse is a form of poetry that is written in a particular shape, to convey the meaning of the poem. This form of poetry, which originated in the 1950s, gives equal importance to visual art, just as much as the wordings of the poem. This concept was originally developed by European artists Max Bill and Oyving Fahlstorm. Initially, the poems were written to be abstract, and did not have a particular shape. In the 1960s, however, artists began to use a technique called "poesia visiva" to describe and use the art.
Famous Examples of Concrete Poetry
▸ Ernest Santiago is very well-known for his concrete poems. Two of his most popular poems include "The Bird" and "The Quill. "The Bird" is shaped like a flying bird, and talks about a bird's carefree life. "The Quill", also a concrete poem, is shaped in the form of a quill feather, and talks about the life of a quill.
▸ Another such example is "The Rain Song" by Ruth Y. Nott. The poem relates the various struggles in life to the rain. The poet has used the shape of an umbrella, as a symbol of protection from the various sorrows and grievances in life.
▸ George Herbert's "Easter Wings" is another popular example of concrete poetry.
▸ Other poets to have implemented this technique in their works include Sau Paulo and Ferreira Gullar.
How to Write Concrete Poetry
Rainbow Poem
1. Define the purpose of your poem.
The basic purpose of a concrete poem is to convey the meaning of your poem through its shape. For example, if you are writing about a flower, you could make sure that the placement and shape of your words, take the shape of flower.

2. Fill the words in the outline.
It is better to write the poem first. Once you are ready with the poem, begin with the outline of the shape in which you want to form your poem. Once done with the outline, fill in the words accordingly. It is wise to pick up a simple shape, so that the words of the poem are readable.

3. Substitute with synonyms.
If you feel that a few words are not fitting in your outline, try substituting the words with their synonyms, or tweaking the lines a little bit.
Remember that the words of your poem are just as important as the pattern or shape of the poem. Make sure that you make use of suitable words, and convey the message in your poem in the best possible way.