Poets who are looking to start writing a new type of poetry might be interested in looking at some concrete poem examples on the Internet. Since the visual presentation of this type of poetry is so vital to the meaning that gets conveyed, seeing some concrete poems with your own eyes is particularly important. This article will provide you with a brief background and description of concrete poetry and will then direct you to some excellent resources on the Internet where you can view some concrete poem examples.
What Is Concrete Poetry?
Concrete poetry is a form of poetry that goes by several names. In addition to concrete, these poems are also referred to as pattern poetry, shape poetry, or visual poetry. The general philosophy behind this type of poetry is that the visual form of the words on the page, the way in which they are arranged typographically, is as important to the poem's intended meaning as the words chosen, the meter, the rhyme, et cetera. In other words, concrete poems are not poems that would be as effective at a poetry reading, as the audience would not be able to see what the poem looked like. These types of work would likely find an art gallery a more suitable mode of presentation, as the patrons could lay their eyes on the work and therefore have access to all the poem has to offer.
Historically, the term concrete poem wasn't brought into the lexicon until the 1950s when some Brazilian poets who called their group Noigrandes held an exhibition in São Paulo and released a manifesto. The intention in making the poems so visually oriented was to integrate the physical words themselves into the poem in a deeper way. Poets like E.E. Cummings and Ezra Pound were considered inspirational to early concrete poets because they experimented with the arrangement of words on the page in their poetry. Some of the most popular concrete poets in the English language are Edwin Morgan and Ian Hamilton Finlay.
Where to Find Concrete Poem Examples
The following links contain some fantastic concrete poem examples. Some even expand on the theory behind concrete poetry and contain some useful criticism and commentary on the poems that are presented.
- Court's Concrete Creations - This website hosted by Oregon State University has seven simple examples of concrete poetry. This site would be a great place for the poet new to this form to start, as you get a clear sense of what concrete poems are all about through these straightforward examples. The two poems Sailboat and Dams are both particularly effective.
- Literacy Rules - The website Literacy Rules hosts some great concrete poetry by a handful of poets. Check out Morghan Barnes' poem Shoes and Tobias Burgess' lovely poem about a fish.
- Concrete Poetry in Digital Media - This article makes for excellent reading on the history and digital future of concrete poetry, and the examples used are intricate and stunning.
- A Gentle Breeze - This lovely poem is hosted on a website for a public school in Florida. The poem is particularly interesting, in that it is presented in both a concrete form and a more traditional text form. Seeing both forms of the same poem allows the viewer to really understand the impact that the visual presentation has on the effectiveness of the poem.
Poetry For All Ages
While there are unquestionable masters of concrete poetry who receive the same respect in poetry circles as other well know poets, concrete poetry is popular because it can be appreciated by people of all ages. You don't have to be a literary scholar to get concrete poetry, and even small children can have fun experimenting with this simple and intriguing form. If you're still interested after checking out the above examples, grab a pen and paper and give it a shot. You just might discover that concrete poetry is your true medium.