Concrete poetry is a poem that is arranged to resemble its subject matter. For example, a poem about a triangle could be displayed with gradually longer lines so it is in the shape of a triangle. Concrete poetry has also been called pattern or shape poetry.
Concrete poetry is popular with kids and it can be a fun way to introduce children to poetry. The poetry form can be traced back to ancient Greek poets.
Concrete Poem Examples
- Sonnet in the Shape of a Potted Christmas Tree - As the title suggests this poem is arranged to resemble a Christmas tree.
- The Mouse's Tale by Lewis Carroll - This tail-shaped poem appears in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
- Kitty and Bug by John Hollander - This poem is in the shape of a cute cat. The site also displays other concrete poems.
- This Crosstree Here by Robert Herrick - This poem is in the shape of a cross and begins with the lines: "This crosstree here Doth Jesus bear,"
- Easter Wings by George Herbert. This poem is arranged in the shape of two wings.
How to Make a Concrete Poem
Creating a concrete poem requires an extra typographical step in addition to writing your poem. You also need to think visually when designing a concrete poem. You need to decide what your poem subject will be and you need to decide how you want to present the poem. You need to arrange the text of the poem so it fits with your design. You can design a clear representation of the poem's subject or you can use an abstract design. Some poets like to write the poem first while others prefer to first come up with the design for the concrete poem.
Ken Nesbitt has some good tips in his article, "How to Write Concrete Poetry." The article also includes a snowman concrete poem example. Some more tips can be found at Power Poetry.
Animated Concrete Poetry
Some concrete poems are even animated. Here's a fun example of an animated concrete poem by Dudley Wild called "The Slow Train."