Visual (Concrete) Poetry

by graphicnarrativemum

One idea for your final project could be to write poetry and bind it in a book or write it on a scroll of some kind. There is a type of poetry called Visual or Concrete Poetry which relies on the intimate interrelationship between words and the white space on the page, between form and meaning. Some information on Concrete Poetry in this blog post:

Concrete Poetry on wikipedia:
Concrete Poetry

From wikipedia:
Concrete poetry or shape poetry is poetry in which the typographical arrangement of words is as important in conveying the intended effect as the conventional elements of the poem, such as meaning of words, rhythm, rhyme and so on.

It is sometimes referred to as visual poetry, a term that has evolved to have distinct meaning of its own, but which shares the distinction of being poetry in which the visual elements are as important as the text.

George Herbert’s “Easter Wings”, printed in 1633 on two facing pages (one stanza per page), sideways, so that the lines would call to mind birds flying up with outstretched wings.

John Hollander, “Swan and Shadow”

And here a concrete poem by former student Leah Marie Waller, published in her collection Under the Cedar Tree (First World Publishing):

“Ode to My Foot” by Leah Marie Waller

Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) was a French poet with a keen eye for visual art and the dimensions of writing. He was one of the first to explore the relationship between typography, art and poetry, especially in his later work, the Calligrammes, in which he incorporated words, letters and phrases into complex visual collages. Here you can see a lot of his work (toward bottom of link):
Words and Eggs

“Rain” by Guillaume Apollinaire (France, 1880-1918)

Translation without visuals (this time sideways):
It is raining of the voices of women as if
they were dead even in memory
It is you also that it rains marvelous
meetings of my life, oh little drops
And these reared-up clouds take themselves
to neighing an entire universe of auricular cities
Listen if it rains while regret and disdain
cry an ancient music
Listen to the falling of the bonds that
restrain you from top to bottom

Necktie by Apollinaire, from Caligrammes

Apollinaire, portrait

Apollinaire, Caliigrammes

Apollinaire, Calligrammes

Apollinaire, Caligrammes

Visual Poetry on wikipedia:
Visual Poetry

From wikipedia:
Visual poetry is poetry or art in which the visual arrangement of text, images and symbols is important in conveying the intended effect of the work. It is sometimes referred to as concrete poetry, a term that predates visual poetry, and at one time was synonymous with it.

Visual poetry was heavily influenced by Fluxus, which is usually described as being Intermedia. Intermedia work tends to blur the distinctions between different media, and visual poetry blurs the distinction between art and text. Whereas concrete poetry is still recognizable as poetry, being composed of purely typographic elements, visual poetry is generally much less text-dependent. Visual poems incorporate text, but the text may have primarily a visual function. Visual poems often incorporate significant amounts of non-text imagery in addition to text.

Here you can browse the Sackner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry:
Sackner Archive

Meg Hitchcock

And here the link to Taylor Mali’s “Post Modern Poem” on youtube from Ella’s presentation: