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Concrete poetry


  • Poems in which graphic effects created by typography replace the use of conventional verse forms, so that the typographical arrangement of text is integral to the experience and meaning of the work. For poems that are arranged to form a recognizable shape that generally illustrates the poem's theme see [Pattern poetry.]
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  • Form

    • Concrete poetry
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  • Sources

    • found: Hutchinson encyclopedia, 2013 (concrete poetry: 20th-century form of poetry in which graphic effects created by words and letters replaces the use of conventional verse forms. It flourished in particular in the 1950s and 1960s, though one of the earliest (and most inventive) poets to use concrete poetry was the French writer Guillaume Apollinaire, whose 1918 poem Il pleut/It rains consists of words arranged in long vertical lines suggesting rain. Inspired in part by Dada and surrealism, concrete poetry was an attempt both to escape what were seen as the constraints of conventional verse, and also to bring a new vitality and range to poetry by fusing words and images. Though closely related to pattern poetry, concrete poetry differs in the importance it attaches to the visual impact of the poem. A pattern poem is a complete and independent text that has been arranged to form a recognizable shape. A concrete poem, by contrast, is generally one in which the visual element (which is often much more than a shape formed by the lines) is an integral part of the experience of the poem: the text is not meant to be read independently of the form in which it is embodied.)
    • found: Cambridge guide to literature in English, 2000 (concrete poetry: An experimental form of poetry, flourishing in the 1960s, which concentrated on isolated and particular aspects of visual, phonetic or kinetic structure, abandoning normal forms of meaning for those disclosed at or below the level of the single word. Different accounts of concrete poetry have either stressed its novel and experimental nature, making links with structuralism and semiotics,or else have claimed a long tradition stemming from older texts whose visual aspects contributed to their meaning.)
    • found: Harmon, W. A handbook to literature, c2006 (Concrete poetry: Poetry that exploits the graphic, visual aspect of writing: a specialized application of what Aristotle called opsis ("spectacle") and Pound "phanopoeia." A concrete poem is one that is also a work of graphic art; the painter Paul Klee produced some early examples)
    • found: Cuddon, J.A. A dictionary of literary terms and literary theory, 1991 (Concrete poetry/verse: A recent development of the altar poem and the Carmen figuratum. The object is to present each poem as a different shape. It is thus a matter of pictorial typography which produces "visual poetry.")
    • found: Morner, K. NTC's dictionary of literary terms, c1991 (Concrete poetry: Poetry in which the visual arrangement of words or letters suggests something about the subject of the poem. Many concrete poems consist of a single word--for example, the word shrink printed with gradually smaller letters)
    • found: Beckson, K. Literary terms, 1989 (Carmen figuratum: Latin: "a shaped poem," the verses of which are so arranged that they form a design on the page. When the design is an object, such as a cross or an altar, it is usually the theme of the poem. In recent years, the vogue of shaped verse, called "concrete poetry," has become worldwide phenomenon. Often poems consist of single letters, words, or phrases in a variety of type styles and colors, all of which challenge the reader to perceive the shape and the theme)
  • General Notes

    • Poems in which graphic effects created by typography replace the use of conventional verse forms, so that the typographical arrangement of text is integral to the experience and meaning of the work. For poems that are arranged to form a recognizable shape that generally illustrates the poem's theme see [Pattern poetry.]
  • Example Notes

    • Note under [Pattern poetry]
  • Change Notes

    • 2014-12-01: new
    • 2015-12-02: revised
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