Visual Poetry

‘Visual’ poetry is literary verse written on the page with intentional form to add meaning to the poem. it is written to resemble a shape usually reflecting the subject of the poem. So in visual poetry the art is in the visual arrangement of text, images or symbols. The physical shape of a poem can be used by the poet to reinforce its meanings and themes. This type of visual poetry may also be called altar poetry. The shape or pattern of these poems is typically that of a common and easily recognized object that is referenced in some way by the words of the poem.

George Starbuck’s poem: ‘Sonnet in the Shape Of A Potted Christmas Tree’ is a perfect example:-

Below is a famous example of an altar form from the latter Renaissance’s premier practitioner of the form, George Herbert. The shape replicates a wing – classic altar poetry.

Geometric and pattern poems are also forms of visual poetry. Unlike altar poems, however, these verses are not always intended to represent a recognizable shape. Lines and stanzas may end, contain gaps on the page, or feature words that are spaced unusually to enhance the meaning of the poem and create a specific cadence when reading the poem aloud. 

Concrete poetry became popular between the 1920s and 1950s, with large movements forming in Germany, Brazil, and France. Two of the greatest practitioners were Max Bill and Bolivian-born Swiss poet Eugen Gomringer, who defined many variations of concrete poetry, wrote definitive texts and papers, and produced powerful pieces striking in their paucity of words, such as Gomringer’s famous “Silencio.”

Visual poetry can have a very uncomplicated concept why not try it – use your words, letters, shapes as part of the creation along with spacing, print style and punctuation to create the whole picture – best of luck!

1983 (steal my _ _ art)

Published by poetisatinta

I was born and live in rural North Wales (UK) and found poetry again after a lifetime, so grateful I did :)

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